Will Mandate Repeal Hike Health Premiums? GOP Senator Says ‘Let’s Find Out’

UNITED STATES - APRIL 27: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea," which featured testimony by Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command on April 27, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 27: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea," featuring testimony b... UNITED STATES - APRIL 27: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea," featuring testimony by Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, on April 27, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images) MORE LESS

Despite warnings from one of their own that repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate will hike the insurance premiums of millions of middle class Americans, Senate Republicans are moving forward with a tax bill that includes a provision gutting the mandate.

When asked by TPM if the mandate’s repeal would be a “death blow” to the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) first answered “kind of,” then, chuckling, amended his answer to “I hope so.”

Asked if he was concerned that repealing the mandate would—as many experts have predicted—drain the market of young and healthy people, spiking the health care premiums for those who need insurance and remain in the individual market, Inhofe told TPM: “Let’s find out. I don’t know.”

new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the individual mandate would increase premiums at least 10 percent every year for the next 10 years. Through a combination of people choosing to go uninsured and others being priced out of the market due to these rising premiums, the CBO estimates 13 million more people will be uninsured after 10 years if the mandate is repealed.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced earlier on Tuesday that her office had crunched the numbers and found that for many middle class Americans, this insurance price hike would more than cancel out any of the tax breaks they would get from the rest of the GOP’s bill.

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