After failing to do away with the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, Republicans will now try to kill two birds with one stone by adding a partial ObamaCare repeal to their tax package, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sen. Mitch McConnell says getting rid of the ACA's mandate that most Americans purchase health insurance will be part of the tax package being unveiled Tuesday. According to the Washington Post, McConnell says he's "optimistic" that adding the mandate repeal to the tax package will "be helpful." And Republican Sen. John Thune says the money saved from getting rid of the mandate will be put toward lowering taxes for the middle class. Those savings, approximately $338 billion over a decade, would come from the government not paying subsidies to help some low and middle-income people buy insurance, the Los Angeles Times reports.
While McConnell may be optimistic, the move could cost the tax package the support of some Republican lawmakers who opposed the ACA repeal earlier this year. A CBO estimate found that getting rid of the mandate will increase the number of uninsured Americans by 13 million over the next decade, and premiums for everyone else would rise about 10% in most years. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden says Americans will be losing their insurance or paying more for it "all to pay for more tax breaks for multinationals." The insurance industry and medical groups, including America's Health Insurance Plans, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and the American Medical Association, wrote to Congress on Tuesday asking it to preserve the mandate. (Read more Affordable Care Act stories.)