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Week ahead: Republicans close in on ObamaCare mandate repeal

Week ahead: Republicans close in on ObamaCare mandate repeal
© Greg Nash

Republicans are closer now than they've been all year to scoring a win on health care. 

Republicans in the Senate passed a tax code overhaul that would also repeal one of ObamaCare's most unpopular provisions — the individual mandate. 

It's not the full-fledged repeal of ObamaCare they have promised voters for seven years, but that could come next year after tax reform, they say. 

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Now Senators and the House must iron out differences between their two tax bills. 

While the House tax bill doesn't contain a repeal of the mandate, Republican leaders have suggested it will likely be in the final bill that comes out of the conference committee. 

"The House has always been strongly supportive of eliminating that forced tax," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate MORE (R-Texas) said at the American Enterprise Institute this week. 

"We're going to let the Senate process go forward, encourage the Senate to deliver a good, pro-growth product," he said. 

Additionally, conservative members of the House and President Trump have been pushing for tax reform to include a repeal of the individual mandate. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that repealing the mandate would cause premiums to increase 10 percent and result in 13 million fewer people covered. 

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Collins PAC donated hundreds of dollars to two candidates who support QAnon Republicans increasingly seek distance from Trump MORE (Maine) says passing two ObamaCare stabilization bills would mitigate the effects of repealing the mandate, and she has a promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Schumer labels McConnell's scheduled coronavirus stimulus vote as 'a stunt' Pelosi gives White House 48-hour deadline for coronavirus stimulus deal MORE (R-Ky.) to attach them to the must pass year-end spending deal in exchange for her vote on tax reform. 

But members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have said they wouldn't support a bill that "bails out" ObamaCare, potentially setting up a battle over the government funding bill. 

House GOP leaders hope to pass a two-week stopgap measure by Dec. 8, when funding expires, to keep the government funded through Dec. 22 so lawmakers have time to work out a budget deal.

But that would possibly require a second continuing resolution that punts the funding fight into January.

The plan also has faced opposition from conservatives who worry a year-end spending bill will include measures they don't want.

 

Hearings 

Axios will hold an event called "A New Era in Health Care" at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Ajax, 1011 4th St. NW.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the opioid crisis at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 124.

The Senate Health Committee will hold a hearing on medical innovation and the 21st Century Cures Act at 10 a.m. Thursday in Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 430.

 

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Justice Department announces new steps to combat opioid epidemic 

CBO: ObamaCare fix would not make up for mandate repeal 

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