Over the past few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have been working independently on tax bills. While these bills have included some health care related changes, the latest version of the Senate bill now includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. This addition provides funding for the tax breaks included in the bill and will allow the Senate Republicans to eliminate at least a small portion of the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated that eliminating the individual mandate will reduce the federal deficit by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period. However, eliminating the mandate is not without controversy, as several moderate Senators have voiced their concern about adding the repeal of the individual mandate to the tax bill. These Senators cite the CBO estimate that repealing the mandate would result in an increase in the number of uninsured people by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027. For more detailed information on the state of health care legislation, you can view a recording of the webinar I presented on November 14, 2017, “Health Care Under the Trump Administration: Impact on Employers and Employees.”
Both the House and the Senate expect to bring their tax bills up for a vote before the end of the year. Additional changes are likely as the House and Senate Republicans fight for the votes needed for passage of these bills. Stay tuned for further updates.