Cochran, Wicker Resume Push to Repeal Obamacare Individual Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release) — U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss) today resumed their push for a full repeal of the individual insurance mandate that requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

The Mississippi Senators are original cosponsors of the American Liberty Restoration Act (S.203), which was introduced on Wednesday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.). Cochran and Wicker also cosponsored similar Hatch legislation in the 112th and 113th Congresses.

“A central problem with Obamacare is its heavy-handed way of forcing individuals to buy health insurance of a certain kind or face financial penalties. It allows the federal government to essentially pluck money out of our wallets, either for insurance or to pay fines,” Cochran said. “Fully repealing the mandate would lessen this government intrusion into the lives of Americans by letting individuals and families make the health care decisions that are right for them.”

“There is a better way to make insurance available to all Americans than a costly government-imposed mandate. Repealing this burdensome tax at the foundation of the President’s health-care law is essential to dismantling Obamacare and replacing it with workable solutions that empower patients,” Wicker said.

The health insurance individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “Obamacare”) required uninsured Americans to purchase healthcare insurance by 2014 or face a penalty each year that they go uninsured.

The penalties for the 2014 tax filing season, which will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service beginning this year, amount to $95 or 1 percent of the income of individuals who did not purchase health insurance last year. The fines will increase to $325 or 2 percent of the income of noncompliant individuals in 2015.

Striking the individual mandate, which involves the federal government forcing individuals to buy a certain product, would also help reduce the federal budget deficit through significant reductions in spending on health insurance subsidies and premium tax credits.

According to a Congressional Budget Office assessment from January 2013 of the American Liberty Restoration Act, legislation to repeal the individual mandate would reduce direct spending by $468.5 billion over 10 years.

S.203 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

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