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. 

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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 BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm MORE (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals 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 WalkerNorth Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning North Carolina ruling could cost GOP House seats 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.