Medical Groups To Congress: Don’t Nuke The Individual Mandate

Jim Cole/AP

Influential industry groups representing doctors, hospitals and insurance companies wrote to Congress on Tuesday to express their opposition to repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate.

In a letter, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said that eliminating the mandate “likely will result in a significant increase in premiums, which would in turn substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans.”

Republican leadership in the Senate on Tuesday signaled the possibility of including a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate — which applies a penalty to individuals who meet certain criteria who do not purchase health insurance — in their bill to slash corporate taxes and the estate tax, among other things.

The President has long called for repealing the individual mandate as part of Republicans’ tax plan, most recently on Monday:

“Experts agree that in order to have a health insurance system in which anyone can obtain coverage regardless of their health status, there must be incentives for everyone to enroll in and maintain coverage throughout the year,” the groups wrote in their statement.

They added: “Repealing the individual mandate without a workable alternative will reduce enrollment, further destabilizing an already fragile individual and small group health insurance market on which more than 10 million Americans rely.”

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate would increase the number of uninsured people by 13 million by 2027, versus the status quo. 

Senate Democratic leadership posted the letter on their Twitter account. Read it below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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