Time to let go of the ACA mandate

Republican leaders in Congress are not happy with one tax reform proposal from President Donald Trump. It is that the comprehensive tax bill on which they are working include a provision rescinding the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “individual mandate.”

Tax reformers know that including Trump’s proposal in the bill would virtually doom it. Every Democrat on Capitol Hill would vote against the bill because of that single provision. Why?

Because the ACA — or, if you prefer, Obamacare — would collapse of its own weight without the mandate.

Referred to by the bureaucrats as the “individual shared responsibility” program, the mandate requires that, if you are financially able, you purchase a health insurance policy deemed acceptable by the federal government. That means you pay for all sorts of things you don’t need, such as maternity care for males.

Forcing Americans to purchase those needlessly expensive policies helps subsidize coverage for low-income people.

If you choose not to buy a government-approved policy, you will be fined. For this year, the maximum fine is $2,085 per household. That, too, provides money to subsidize the ACA.

And that is why liberal lawmakers reject any talk of eliminating the individual mandate and allowing tens of millions of Americans to buy the health insurance we can afford and that is right for us.

Leaving the individual mandate out of the main tax reform bill may be necessary. But Trump is right that at some point soon, Congress should rescind the mandate as part of an ACA repeal and replace bill. Fining people for refusing to go along with Big Brother’s social engineering is, or should be, unacceptable.