White House open to striking health provision from tax bill

White House open to striking health provision from tax bill

WASHINGTON - The Associated Press
White House open to striking health provision from tax bill

The White House says it’s willing to strike a health-care provision from the Senate tax-cut bill if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities.

The provision would repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine. But it has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who says the issue should be dealt with separately.

Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, says the White House would like to repeal the health care requirement and still have a good tax bill.

But he told CNN’s "State of the Union" on Nov. 19 that "we’re OK" with removing it if keeping it becomes an impediment to passing the legislation.

"I don't think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare. We absolutely want to do it," Mulvaney said on Nov. 19. "If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that's great.

"If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we're OK with taking it out," Mulvaney added.

Legislative director Marc Short said on Nov. 19 that the White House "is very comfortable with the House bill," which does not include the so-called individual mandate. But Short also said the White House views the mandate as a tax and "we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill."

At issue is a provision to repeal the requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine. Eliminating the individual mandate would add an estimated $338 billion in revenue over 10 years that Senate tax-writers used for additional tax cuts.

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