Today, Senate leadership announced their plan to eliminate the individual mandate as part of the GOP’s tax plan. Antoinette Kraus, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network issued the following statement:
“Repealing the individual mandate will result in 13 million fewer Americans having health insurance coverage and will cause premiums to rise by double digits in Pennsylvania in future years. Tax cuts for America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations shouldn’t cost middle class families their health insurance.
The individual mandate keeps coverage affordable and stabilizes the market, by ensuring that everyone pays their fair share. Without the mandate, fewer healthy people enroll, risk is not shared evenly, and middle class families are faced with higher, unsustainable costs for coverage.
Repeal of the individual mandate was already rejected in the Senate as part of skinny repeal and was opposed by governors of both parties, health insurers, physicians, patient advocates, and experts. Instead of continuing to attack the Affordable Care Act, Congress should be working on bi-partisan solutions to strengthen our current healthcare system.”
The CBO estimates that the number of Americans without health insurance would increase by 13 million if the individual mandate were repealed. Those estimates are largely consistent with prior analyses from RAND, the Urban Institute, and Lewin.
The savings from mandate repeal come entirely from these coverage losses. For example, fewer people would enroll in the ACA marketplaces and claim premium tax credits, reducing federal costs.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department estimated that if changes are made to the individual mandate or the law’s cost-sharing reduction payments, Pennsylvanians would see significant premium increases. Pennsylvania’s five individual market health insurers estimated that if cost-sharing reduction payments were not made, they would need to request a statewide average 20.3 percent rate increase. If the individual mandate is not enforced, they say they would seek a 23.3 percent rate increase. If both changes occur, insurers estimate that they would seek an increase of 36.3 percent, assuming the insurers continue to participate in the market