Senate GOP considers keeping Obamacare taxes to pay for repeal

This would set them on a collision course with the House GOP, however. The bill that the House had passed rolled back almost all Obamacare-related taxes retroactively to Jan. 1, 2017.

James Smith | Jun 11, 2017

   

Senate Republicans may leave Obamacare taxes in place even if they repeal the law itself. Doing so may be the only way to pay for their own bill's health-related costs, such as limited health-care subsidies to individual taxpayers to offset their health-insurance costs, they argue.

"There are just two dials here," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, referring to the option of easing individuals' health-care costs by offering them health-related tax cuts on the one hand or health-care subsidies on the other. "You have to keep turning [them] until you get a majority who says, 'I like that dial and that dial set right there.' And that's a big part of how this has to come together."

This would set them on a collision course with the House GOP, however. The bill that the House had passed rolled back almost all Obamacare-related taxes retroactively to Jan. 1, 2017.

Republicans had hoped to release a finalized draft of their plan by the end of the week. The end goal is to have a final bill and a Senate vote on it before the Senate adjourns for July 4.

"We haven't settled on anything," said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). "Obviously we want to get rid of as many of the Obamacare taxes as we can."

The House and Senate GOP versions can get their differences worked out through a reconciliation process, so Senate Republicans only need a simple majority to approve their bill. But with a majority of 52 seats, they have virtually no room for defections.

 

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