House conservatives push for repeal of ObamaCare mandate in final tax bill

House conservatives push for repeal of ObamaCare mandate in final tax bill
© Greg Nash

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative Republicans in the House, is pushing for tax reform to include a repeal of the individual insurance mandate. 

"Including language to repeal this harmful policy will return personal decisions about health care choices to patients, fulfilling a key promise we have made to the American people," the RSC wrote in a letter being circulated among members. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The House-passed tax bill did not include repeal of the individual mandate, while the Senate bill did. The two chambers now must reconcile their versions of tax-reform legislation in a bicameral conference.

In a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse GOP bill a mixed bag for retirement savers China imposes new tariffs on billion of US goods: report Trump announces tariffs on 0B in Chinese goods MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchJudiciary Dems say GOP treating Kavanaugh accuser worse than Anita Hill Dem vows to probe 'why the FBI stood down' on Kavanaugh Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (R-Utah), the RSC asks that the final package that emerges from a conference committee between the two houses contain a repeal of the mandate. 

"Obamacare’s coercive individual mandate represents perhaps the worst example of the federal government violating individual freedom and liberty — which is why we have repeatedly promised to repeal it," the letter, which has about 50 signatures, says. 

"Repeal of the individual mandate was included in the Senate-passed bill and had earned robust support in the House. We urge you to help fulfill our promise to the American people and include this language in a final conference package," the group wrote.

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (R-N.C.), chairman of the RSC, previously filed an amendment to the House tax bill to repeal the mandate. It had more than 60 co-sponsors. 

House leadership has been worried about including the mandate repeal in tax reform, thinking it could potentially doom the entire effort in the Senate. 

But the Senate passed its tax reform with the mandate repeal early Saturday morning. 

Brady is now suggesting the mandate repeal might be included in the final product. 

"We'll be asking our members where do they want us to be on that position. I suspect there will be strong support," he said Tuesday.

Repealing the mandate through tax reform has the strong support of President Trump, who is looking for a win on health care.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that repealing the individual mandate could result in 13 million fewer people insured and generate a savings of $338 billion for tax cuts.