GOP senators are working on a plan to end the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that individuals have health insurance or face a tax penalty, a senior GOP aide told POLITICO.
The move is aimed at addressing the GOP’s inability to enact a repeal bill in the Senate, and potentially the GOP-controlled House.
While GOP leaders were working on legislation to repeal the ACA in the fall, GOP senators were still considering a plan that would eliminate the mandate, which they say is an obstacle to repealing the law.
The plan would eliminate tax penalties for individuals who don’t buy insurance, but only for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as the mandate’s penalties for those who don, according to the aide.
The GOP plan, which is being drafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is being written by Sens.
Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R,Alaska) and John Thune (R.,S.D.).
Republicans also plan to bring back the tax credit for young adults who buy insurance and would increase the child tax credit and tax credit to individuals under age 26, according the aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.CA) also said earlier this week that the House and Senate should work together to address the issue.
A Republican aide said the plan would be “in a bipartisan way” and would not repeal the mandate but would make changes to help consumers who do not have health coverage.
A Senate Republican aide declined to comment on the proposal.
Democrats have said that repealing the mandate is their top priority and that repealing it could cause premiums to skyrocket for consumers.
They argue that the ACA is not working as designed and that repeal could make it worse.
“I think there are some real problems in the ACA that need to be fixed, and that the Republicans who have the power are unwilling to fix,” Sen. Patty Murray (D) said this week.
“And they’re not willing to fix them.”
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R) also took aim at the Republican bill in a tweet on Wednesday, saying, “The Republican health care bill is a failure, it’s a bad deal, it will kill coverage, and it’s the end of Obamacare.
We’re going to fight to make sure we repeal it.”
House Democrats have also criticized the GOP bill, and said it doesn’t address the needs of young adults and people with pre_existing conditions.
The White House said Tuesday that the Senate is working on its own health care plan and would announce its plan as soon as Thursday.
The Senate is set to vote on the bill later this week, though some Republicans have said they will not support the bill.