On Tuesday, Nov. 14, Senate Republicans released their U.S. tax system reform plan, which includes a provision to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual insurance mandate — a core component of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. While short of the GOP’s promise to “repeal and replace” the 2010 health care law, this measure would almost certainly jeopardize Obamacare.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that eliminating the individual mandate would save the federal government $338 billion over 10 years; however, it is estimated that 4 million fewer American would have health insurance coverage in the first year of implementation, with 13 million losing coverage over its first decade.

Many detractors of this strategy also argue that repealing the individual mandate would discourage younger, healthier patients from buying into the health insurance exchange, which would raise premiums for older patients more prone to illness. The CBO estimates that premiums would rise approximately 10% in each year in its first decade of implementation.

After failing to repeal the ACA on multiple occasions in recent months, the Republican ranks are split on this strategy to include health care within the tax debate. The companion legislation proposed in the House of Representatives, which passed the House by a 227-205 margin on Thursday, Nov. 16, does not include measures to alter health care legislation.

The effort to include a repeal of the individual mandate has faced pushback from Democrats as well as health insurers, hospitals, and physician groups. Thus far, one GOP Senator, Ron Johnson (R-WI), has voiced opposition to the Senate tax bill.

For more information on legislative and regulatory efforts to reform the U.S. health care system, please contact AASM advocacy staff at (630) 737-9700.