Opinion: Repealing individual mandate in Senate tax reform bill is the right move

(Sinclair Broadcast Group)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Republicans in the Senate are looking to combine tax reform and healthcare reform. They are working to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate which forces most Americans to purchase health insurance.

If Americans do not play along, they are charged a penalty by the government. I believe that the mandate should have been ruled unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court in 2012 stated that the fee is really a tax and allowed it to be imposed.

Why is the individual mandate on the table as part of tax reform?

Two reasons:

First, the GOP has been promising to repeal the mandate since the Supreme Court ruling over five years ago and has failed to do so,

Second, being rid of the mandate would also get rid of about $338 billion of federal spending over the next 10 years on subsidies which accompany it, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The savings are important because in order to pass tax reform without any Democrat votes Republicans have to use reconciliation. That is a Senate procedure which, in short, allows for a bill to be passed by a simple majority. Reconciliation requires for a bill to be revenue neutral, meaning it would not raise our national debt long term. Repealing the individual mandate moves the Senate closer to meeting that requirement.

Here is the bottom line: the American people elected Republicans largely so they would repeal all or part of Obamacare and cut taxes. Combining the two efforts not only makes sense because of Senate procedures but because that is in the best interest of our country.

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