The New York Times (11/14, A1, Kaplan, Tankersley, Subscription Publication) reports on its front page that GOP senators have decided to add a provision to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate to their tax reform bill, thus “merging the fight over health care with the high-stakes effort to cut taxes.” The article says this is also “a calculated gamble to help speed their bill to passage on a party-line vote.” These moves “are attempts by Republicans to solve two problems: math and politics.” Repealing the mandate would enable the federal government to save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, which would allow expanded tax cuts for the middle class. The piece says several healthcare groups, such as the American Medical Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, are opposed to repealing the ACA’s mandate.
In a front-page article, the Washington Post (11/14, A1, Paletta, Debonis) reports that this was “a major change of strategy” as Senate Republicans attempt “to accomplish two of their top domestic priorities in a single piece of legislation.” The Post says repealing the ACA’s individual mandate “would free up more than $300 billion in government funding over the next decade that Republicans could use to finance their proposed tax cuts.” However, the Congressional Budget Office has warned this “would result in 13 million fewer people having health insurance.” The CBO also predicted that repealing the mandate would raise premiums for many consumers by about 10 percent.
The Wall Street Journal (11/15, A1, Armour, Rubin, Subscription Publication) reports on its front page that the decision to include a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate in Senate Republicans’ tax bill makes the debate even more complicated. Although McConnell expressed optimism that the revised bill would pass, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the House will not take similar action until the Senate proves it can pass such a measure.