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The Tax Bill Is a Health Bill

  • Actuaries Warn of Premium Increases from Repealing Obamacare Mandate The Hill by Peter Sullivan — A group of insurance experts is warning Congress against repealing Obamacare's individual mandate, saying the move would raise premiums and could cause insurers to drop out of the market. The American Academy of Actuaries wrote to congressional leaders on Tuesday saying that "eliminating the individual mandate would lead to premium increases." The Republican tax-reform bill which is nearing completion in Congress would repeal the Obamacare mandate that people have health insurance or pay a fine. Republicans argue the measure included in the Senate-passed bill is tax relief by removing a penalty for low-income people who choose not to buy insurance. .. The insurance experts also say that a measure pushed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), intended to help offset the premium increases from repealing the mandate, would not be enough to make up the difference.

  • Obamacare Mandate Repeal Would Put Pressure on States The Hill by Nathaniel Weixel — The expected repeal of the Obamacare mandate to buy health insurance means that states will soon have to step in and decide whether to create their own mandates. The requirement that everyone must purchase insurance or pay a fine is a bedrock principle of Obamacare, but it's also one of the most unpopular parts of the law. GOP leaders have tried for years to find a way to repeal it, arguing that it's an unaffordable burden on working class Americans. Now, by including a provision that eliminates the penalty in the tax bill, Republicans are on the cusp of achieving a major legislative victory. Outside experts and supporters of Obamacare predict chaos in the insurance markets if the tax bill passes and the mandate is repealed.  Premiums are expected to rise significantly and insurers could leave the marketplace. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that about 13 million more people would be without insurance in 10 years.

  • House GOP Lawmakers Look to Delay Cadillac Tax, Other ACA Taxes Modern Healthcare by Susannah Luthi — The Affordable Care Act taxes are all on the U.S. House of Representatives' chopping block. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bundle of bills on Tuesday to delay the Cadillac tax, employer mandate, and other taxes that health care industry groups have opposed. The employer mandate gets a retroactive repeal from 2015 and a delay through 2018; this measure is paired with a one-year delay of the Cadillac tax. While the Cadillac tax isn't slated to take effect until 2019, critics say that employees of companies with high-cost plans will see the effects next year as impacted carriers begin to raise rates. The employer mandate takes more immediate effect: In November, the IRS updated its website with instructions for employers as the agency planned to start collecting the penalties at the end of this year.

  • Obamacare Is Helping Patients Get to the Doctor and Pay Their Medical Bills, New Report Finds Los Angeles Times by Noam Levey — Fewer Americans are putting off doctor visits or struggling with medical bills, according to a new report examining the effect of the Affordable Care Act. The report  — based on a state-by-state survey of data collected by the federal government — provides powerful new evidence that insurance gains made through the 2010 healthcare law are helping millions of patients get needed medical care. And the report's findings, which parallel a growing body of research into the law's effect, undercut arguments by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans who have tried to discredit and roll back the law. "The Affordable Care Act has put access to healthcare in reach for millions of Americans, particularly for people in states that embraced the law," conclude the authors of the report, published by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund.

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