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Individual mandate could be on Trump's chopping block

If lawmakers don't include repeal of the Affordable Care Act mandate in tax reform, President Donald Trump could through executive order.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

If the GOP doesn't include an end to the individual mandate in tax reform, President Donald Trump has reportedly readied an executive order to greatly weaken the Affordable Care Act provision.

Trump cannot get rid of the mandate because it is law. What he proposes is broadening the hardship exemption to allow more individuals to opt out of the mandate to get health coverage, according to the Washington Examiner, which first broke the story on Monday.

[Also: ACA sign-up campaigns see varied funding between states]

As lawmakers consider tax reform, GOP conservatives see rolling back the mandate as a way to cut federal spending.

The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady has asked the Congressional Budget Office for an updated score on the impact of slashing the mandate.

[Also: Trump administration ends cost-sharing reduction payments under ACA]

The committee is currently marking up the tax reform bill and is expected to conclude on Thursday.

Brady reportedly told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday he is still considering including the mandate repeal in the tax reform bill, but first wants to see the CBO score, according to the Washington Examiner.

A Senate proposal on tax reform will be out on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

Insurers have said the individual mandate, along with the cost-sharing reduction payments the president has axed, are necessary to keep the ACA marketplaces stable. If individuals have no mandate to buy health insurance, many won't, which will keep mainly the sicker consumers in need of coverage in the market, and in turn, drive up premiums, insurers have said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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