Repeal the mandate: Tax reform and moreEDITORIAL
November 16. 2017 8:30PM
After months of flailing from failure to failure, the Republican Congress may have finally stumbled onto a good idea.
When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts salvaged Obamacare by finding the mandate was really just a tax, he made it possible to repeal the mandate through a tax bill.
So that’s what Senate Republicans are doing. The move would be tied to passage of a provision drafted by Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray to restore federal payments to insurance companies losing money on the Obamacare exchanges.
Conservatives won’t like that, but it would be worth doing to get rid of the Obamacare mandate. No one would be forced to lose coverage. If they like their health care plan, they could actually keep it.
Forcing consumers to purchase health insurance plans they don’t want, or face a penalty from the IRS, was central to the passage of Obamacare because it got insurance companies to support the disastrous law.
Those same companies now complain about losing money on the Obamacare exchanges they helped push into law. They want Congress to restore federal subsidies. There should be no need to both subsidize the exchanges, and mandate that people use them.
Eliminating the mandate would repeal one of the most regressive taxes in American history. This is not nearly what Republicans promised on health care, but it would be an improvement on the status quo.