The White House is sending mixed signals about the fate of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as it tries to corral enough votes in the Senate to pass tax reform. After President Trump said he would like to see repeal of the mandate as part of the tax law, Senate Republicans put in into their bill, but now White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the White House is open to scrapping the rule if it gets in the way of a final vote, Politico reports. “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,” Mulvaney said on CNN's State of the Union today. “If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re okay with taking it out."
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin says scrapping the mandate is still part of the president's plan. "The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it," Mnuchin said. "It's an unfair tax on poor people. To think that you put a penalty on people who can't afford to buy medical policies, it's just fundamentally unfair." The provision to repeal the mandate has already caused problems for Senate Republicans, however. Maine Senator Susan Collins says she hopes the provision "will be dropped." Republicans can only afford to lose two votes on the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that repealing the individual mandate would add $338 billion in revenue over the next 10 years but leave 13 million more Americans without health insurance.