Ending Obamacare Mandate will Advance Tax Reform

Washington — Tax reform continues to move forward in Washington as the House Ways and Means Committee nears the end of its work on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) and the Senate prepares to release its version of tax reform. According to numerous press reports and various cost estimates, the TCJA is outside the bounds of the congressional budget resolution and additional changes will be required.  As Heritage Action argued last week, zeroing out Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty would help the reforms budget score and allow lawmakers to “deliver tax relief to the American people, they should also ensure they are not forced to pay a penalty to the IRS for not buying unaffordable and unworkable health insurance.” Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“While no tax reform is perfect, many of the concessions made in the House proposal are the direct result of self-serving special interests groups. Those trade offs result in bad policy, like the creation of a 45.6 percent bubble rate in the House bill that Barack Obama could only dream of implementing.  Heritage Action shares the GOP’s desire to grow the economy and deliver meaningful tax relief to all Americans. To make that possible within the bounds of artificial budget constraints and Senate rules, Congress should eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate tax penalty and the property tax deduction. These two changes would allow Republicans to fulfill their pledge to grow the economy and provide meaningful tax relief for the American people.”

In addition to correcting the “bubble tax” that would reportedly raise $50 billion over the next decade, The Heritage Foundation recommended five ways to improve the TCJA in the House, writing:

“While the tax package as a whole is certainly a positive step in the right direction, there are important ways to improve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to both meet the goals of pro-growth tax reform and avoid increasing marginal rates on any taxpayers.”

Those changes include 1) Lower marginal rates at every level; 2) Increase expensing; 3) Maintain the commitment to a territorial tax system; 4) Full repeal of the state and local property tax deduction; and 5) Repeal the individual mandate of Obamacare.