A top House conservative is calling on Congress to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate in time for this year’s tax season.
In a letter sent to a House Appropriations Committee subpanel, Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said lawmakers should include a full retroactive repeal of the mandate, and cancel the penalty for the next two years as part of the annual appropriations process.
The newly-passed GOP tax-overhaul law repealed the requirement that all Americans must purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, but it won’t take effect until 2019.
“Unfortunately, many Americans believe the mandate to be immediately repealed and no longer in effect, but will be surprised to learn that it still applies for both 2017 and 2018 tax returns,” Meadows wrote. “Congress must resolve this.”
It is unclear how the mandate could be repealed in time for the current tax filing season, which has just 46 days left.
The IRS has made clear that it is going to step up enforcing the penalty for tax year 2017. The agency issued a statement on its website in October saying it will automatically reject electronic returns that don’t specify if the taxpayer had health insurance.
The 2017 penalty amounts to $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of a household income, whichever is greater.
The individual mandate was included in ObamaCare in part to draw young and healthy people to sign up for insurance in the marketplaces as a way to offset the costs of older and sicker enrollees.
Canceling the mandate’s penalty, along with retroactive repeal, “will provide much needed financial and economic certainty for the American people,” Meadows wrote.