House Passes Tax Reform, Senate Version Adds Health Care Provision
This week, the House of Representatives approved its version of tax reform legislation by a vote of 227-205. This House proposal is vastly different than the version the Senate is currently working on. On Tuesday, the Senate inserted a provision to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate as a part of its proposal. The provision would zero out the penalty individuals face for not purchasing insurance beginning in 2019.
The individual mandate is a critical provision of the health law that helps lower premiums and fund comprehensive insurance plans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing this provision would increase the number of Americans without health insurance by more than 13 million in 2027 and would increase premiums in the individual market by roughly 10 percent. Advocates have raised concerns that this the loss in coverage and rising premiums would contribute to further instability in the individual market.
DOES IT HAVE THE VOTES?
Most Senators have remained silent on whether or not they support the package being promoted by Senate leadership. As was the case during this year’s health care deliberations, there are a number of Republican Senators who have voiced concerns with piecemeal approaches to changing the health law. Senators Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK) and McCain (R-AZ) all voted against the last health care bill. It remains to be seen how many Senate Republicans, if any at all, would vote against tax reform legislation if it included this provision.
TAX REFORM PASSES IN THE HOUSE
The House of Representatives approved its tax reform bill on Thursday by a vote of 227-205. The sweeping rewrite of the nation’s tax code is different than the version the Senate is currently debating and does not include provisions to repeal the individual mandate. Should the Senate pass tax reform legislation, any differences would have to be hammered out in a conference committee between members of the Senate and House. Stayed tuned to Capitol Connector for more.
For more information on the House’s version of tax reform, click here.