Republican Senators introduce bill to eliminate individual mandate

Passing the bill may cause an unsettling market and rising costs

Senate Republicans introduced a bill Wednesday to repeal the individual mandate provision under the Affordable Care Act, reported Reuters.

If passed, the American Liberty Restoration Act, which was backed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), would stop the government from enforcing the individual mandate, noted The Hill.

Given the Supreme Court's recent decision to hear King v. Burwell in order to determine the validity of subsidies, Alexander raised the following concern in a statement, according to The Hill: "How can we continue to enforce the individual mandate when the law doesn't clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost?"

This is the first time the Senate majority party has introduced legislation to put an end to the individual mandate. As of right now, the White House has no comment on the matter. But President Obama did state in November that "the individual mandate is a line I can't cross," according to Reuters.

Insurers and other industry advocates worry that, should the measure carry, repealing the individual mandate ultimately would dismantle the insurance exchanges and cause costs to rise, both articles suggested Reuters.

However, this is not the first time political leaders have expressed their doubts concerning the individual mandate. Back in 2012, Supreme Court justices voiced their doubts about the constitutionality of the individual mandate, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. At the time, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that, since the provision states that the federal government must tell an American citizen to act, it changes the relationship between the government and the individual.

For more:
- here's the Reuters article
- read The Hill piece

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