South Dakota’s senior US Senator John Thune spoke yesterday about how Republicans are including Obamacare’s individual mandate repeal in the tax reform package….. well, because it’s a tax:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that the Senate tax bill will include language to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which could make it tougher for moderate Republicans to support.
Conservatives led by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) pushed hard to include the provision, which would eliminate the federal penalty on people who do not buy health insurance. President Trump has also pushed for the provision to be part of the tax bill.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate’s No. 3 Republican, told reporters there has been a whip count and he is confident Republicans can pass a tax bill that includes a measure to repeal the mandate.
Thune said a compromise bill negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare markets, would be brought up separately. That bill funds key payments to insurers for two years in exchange for more flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.
Thune said that repealing the individual mandate would be germane.
“My understanding is the individual mandate is a tax collected by the IRS,” he said.
Thune also said the Alexander-Murray bill would be brought up separately, while the bill’s GOP sponsor, Alexander, said that his legislation to temporarily stabilize the ObamaCare insurance marketplace “seems to be an indispensable companion to repeal of the individual mandate.”