Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The Republican Senate tax bill may include language to repeal a key portion of the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday.
McConnell said including a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will make it easier to garner the 50 votes needed to pass the tax reform bill.
"We're optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful and that's obviously the view of the Senate Finance Committee Republicans as well," he said.
The individual mandate imposes a tax penalty on people who forego health insurance and its repeal would reduce the federal deficit by $338 billion over 10 years by increasing the number of people who chose to go without health insurance, according to analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
"Repealing the mandate pays for more tax cuts for working families and protects them from being fined by the [Internal Revenue Service] for not being able to afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable in the first place. I urge the House to include the mandate repeal in their tax legislation," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer released a statement criticizing the potential repeal by pointing out the move would raise insurance premiums and leave millions without healthcare.
"Republicans just can't help themselves. They're so determined to provide tax giveaways to the rich that they're willing to raise premiums on millions of middle-class Americans and kick 13 million people off their healthcare," Schumer said.