The GOP slipped a rule into its tax bill that will kill a fundamental part of Obamacare

  • The House on Tuesday passed the Republican tax bill in a 227-203 vote.
  • If passed into law, the bill would make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act .
  • President Donald Trump could sign the bill as soon as Wednesday.

The GOP is on the brink of passing its massive tax reform bill.

On Tuesday, the House and Senate voted in favour of the bill. If a last-minute technical vote passes – after the House revotes on the bill on Wednesday – President Donald Trump could sign the bill as soon as Wednesday.

The bill would cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% and overhaul the way individuals pay for taxes. If passed into law, it would also make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act, a bill the GOP unsuccessfully tried to repeal earlier this year.

Ending the individual mandate

The bill would repeal the individual mandate, the provision in the ACA that requires individuals to have health insurance or face a penalty fee.

Without the individual mandate, healthy people may opt out of getting insurance, and the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 13 million by 2027, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Premiums on the individual market are expected to increase about 10% a year over the next decade without the mandate.

The CBO also said that the insurance markets in “almost all areas” of the country would remain stable.

The repeal of the individual mandate would also have a small effect on the employer market as well, with 3 million fewer people opting into employer coverage.

Initially, the tax bill included a provision that would repeal an itemized deduction of healthcare expenses. Cutting that deduction would hit people with high medical costs hard. That was later taken out during a Senate vote on an earlier version of the bill.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine had voted against all versions of the ACA repeal bill over the summer, but ultimately is expected to vote in favour of the tax bill. Collins, who was concerned the individual mandate repeal would increase premiums, said she got Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to support two pieces of legislation that would stabilise the ACA.

“While this legislation is by no means perfect, on balance, it will provide much-needed tax relief,” Collins said in a statement Monday.

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