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President Trump told House Republicans in a meeting Thursday that he still wants to repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax reform, perhaps in the Senate, according to two lawmakers in attendance.
"He just said he liked the idea and he had asked the senators about it and they said they were considering it," said Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who was in attendance at the meeting of House leaders and Ways and Means Committee members with Trump at the White House.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he wanted to repeal the mandate, which requires people to have health insurance or pay a fine, as part of tax reform.
But House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies House panel advances key portion of Democrats' .5T bill LIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means to conclude work on .5T package MORE (R-Texas) has previously rejected the idea, worrying it would jeopardize the tax measure, and the provision did not make it into the tax bill released Thursday.
Trump is now looking to the Senate to possibly include it, though.
Noem said lawmakers in the room did not respond to Trump's idea, which she said he did not discuss at length. "A couple of us that had wanted it kind of glanced at each other, like it is a good idea," she said.
Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Tech groups take aim at Texas Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services Debt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans MORE (R-Ark.) has been pushing the idea in the Senate. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears MORE (R-Utah) has not ruled the idea out, but he has said that he wants to keep the health-care measure separate from tax reform.
Some House lawmakers say they would like to see the Senate add a repeal of the mandate, though. "Maybe if the Senate wants to go down that path, that's very intriguing to a lot of us," said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a Ways and Means Committee member who was also at the meeting.
The Congressional Budget Office has found repealing the mandate would save $416 billion over 10 years, because fewer insured people would mean the government would pay out less in subsidies. That could help pay for tax cuts.
But the flip side is that the CBO finds 15 million more people would be uninsured, and premiums would rise 20 percent. The move could destabilize the health insurance market by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.