Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate
Finance Committee, along with 20 Republican co-sponsors have introduced The American Liberty Restoration Act which would end the
individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. The individual mandate is one of the least popular parts of Obamacare.
For the 2014 tax filing season, individuals who did not purchase health insurance will face a fine of $95 or 1% of their income, whichever is more. For the 2015 tax filing season, that penalty will increase to $325 or 2% of their income, whichever is more.
“How can we continue to enforce the individual mandate when the law doesn’t clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost? How can we enforce it when Obamacare outlaws plans that fit family budgets? Millions more Americans are in for sticker shock when they see how much they owe the IRS in April because of Obamacare. We need to focus on making health care plans affordable to Americans,” said Alexander.
There is pending a lawsuit before the Supreme Court, King v. Burwell, which challenges the validity of subsidies issued on the federal exchanges. Should the Court rule that subsidies are only available to those who purchased their insurance through a state exchange as stated in the text of the Affordable Care Act, then million of people would have to pay the penalty for not having insurance but would not be eligible for the subsidy to help them purchase insurance.
President Obama has said he would oppose efforts to roll back his policies and is expected to veto this bill should it pass. However, should the court rule that subsidies are not available to people who purchased their insurance thought the federal exchange, then many Democrats may join Republicans in overriding a veto. Without the individual mandate, Obamacare would not function.
“Forcing Americans to purchase insurance goes against our nation’s history of individual liberty. This legislation strikes Obamacare’s individual mandate and restores the freedoms outlined in the Constitution. Washington should continue to work towards finding a way to equip patients with the tools needed to obtain access to health insurance, but not in a way that attacks the spirit of the Constitution and our treasured history of limited government,” said Hatch.