Although The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the GOP might add repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to its tax reform legislation, Republicans have now announced that this will not be the case. The GOP has long sought to eliminate the Obamacare mandate, which requires most Americans to get insurance coverage through the program if they aren’t already insured through their employer and levies a fine on those who opt out of enrolling for health care altogether.

The Hill reported Thursday that the tax reform bill will not include a repeal of the mandate, despite the efforts of President Trump. The website said, “Repealing the mandate would introduce a whole new area of controversy into the bill, and many Republicans think tax reform is hard enough without adding in health care.”

Trump called via Twitter on Wednesday for repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax plan.

Bloomberg Politics notes that Republicans were quick to speak out against the idea. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing Wednesday that “we’re focused on pushing through tax cuts and tax reforms, separately. Obviously we’ve never made it a secret that we’d like to repeal and replace Obamacare. We still think it’s probably more likely to do something like that in the spring.”

Vox explains the problems that could have arisen from including the mandate repeal in tax reform legislation:

It’s an idea endorsed by some conservative stalwarts like Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rand Paul (R-KY). To them, it’s a no-brainer: You get rid of the most unpopular piece of the Affordable Care Act, after Republicans failed to repeal the whole law, and repealing the mandate does save money that could then be redirected to tax cuts.

The only problem is: The lawmakers actually writing the tax bills don’t want to do it. Tax reform is going to be hard and repealing Obamacare proved impossible—combining the two together would be dangerous, in their eyes.

House Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) told reporters Tuesday that his tax bill, expected to be unveiled Thursday, would not repeal the mandate.

Repealing the mandate also would have meant that 15 million fewer Americans would have health insurance over the next 10 years, and fewer people would be insured through Medicaid.

Wednesday was the first day of ACA enrollment for 2018, and The Wall Street Journal reports that there have not been an overwhelming number of people signing up. Many believe the Trump administration’s cancellation of contracts with two companies that helped thousands of people in 18 cities find health care, cutting ACA advertising and reducing the enrollment period to just 45 days are part of an effort to sabotage the public’s ability to sign up for plans.


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