July 6, 2017

House panel OKs bill to end ACA's individual mandate

Daily Briefing

    A House subcommittee last week approved an appropriations bill that includes a provision that would prevent the IRS from enforcing the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) individual mandate.

    Understand the no-regrets priorities at the top of every finance leader's agenda

    Under the ACA's individual mandate, most U.S. residents must be enrolled in a health plan or pay a penalty. Those who did not have health coverage in 2016 or 2017 will have to pay $695 or 2.5 percent of their household incomes, whichever is higher, when they file their taxes.

    The law also requires employers and insurers to file so-called "information returns" with the government, which identifies each person to whom they provide coverage.

    Legislation details

    The provision, which was drafted by the House Appropriations Committee, would prohibit IRS beginning Oct. 1 from using funds included in the appropriations bill from implementing or enforcing "section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code," which outlines the ACA's individual mandate.

    The provision also would bar IRS from enforcing the ACA's requirement that insurers and employers provide the government the names and Social Security numbers of the individuals they cover.

    The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved the provision last week as part of a larger appropriations bill. 

    Comments

    Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), chair of the subcommittee, said the panel produced "a very conservative bill that aligns closely with President Trump's [fiscal year 2018 budget proposal]." He added that the bill would hold the IRS' budget "below the 2008 level," while providing the IRS funds to improve its cybersecurity and customer service.

    Garrett Hawkins, a spokesperson for Graves, said, "While Congress works to pass [Trump's] health care plan, stopping the IRS from implementing the harmful individual mandate helps provide relief for the families suffering under Obamacare" (Pear, New York Times, 7/3; Diamond, "Pulse," Politico, 7/5; HealthCare.gov, accessed 7/5).

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