The top House tax writer said Tuesday that House and Senate Republicans will likely scrap Obamacare’s individual mandate in their final tax bill.
“Yeah, I believe we will,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said when asked if the joint plan would get rid of the provision requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Brady’s statement appears to resolve one of the key differences between the separate tax legislation passed by the House and Senate. The Senate bill would effectively repeal the mandate, while the House proposal would not.
Brady is set to lead an expected conference committee, during which lawmakers from both chambers will try to strike a joint agreement. Brady discussed other potential sticking points in the plan during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The House has previously voted on its own to strike down the individual mandate.
Dropping it was initially considered politically perilous. Doing so would lead to 13 million more Americans uninsured over a decade and raise average health insurance premium prices by about 10 percent, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Repealing the provision did not sink the Senate bill or alienate the three GOP senators who voted against Obamacare repeal earlier this year. Scrapping it helps Republicans to save money on a bill which, in earlier forms, would increase budget deficits by $1 trillion or more over a decade, according to the congressional scorekeeper Joint Committee on Taxation.
On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also outlined where he stood on multiple possible sticking points for the bill.