CBO Indicates Insurance Mandates can be repealed through Budget Reconciliation

Some Republican members of Congress have indicated convoluted Senate rules mean they cannot repeal all of Obamacare through reconciliation. Those Republicans cite the Senate Parliamentarian as the main procedural obstacle because it is not clear that the insurance mandates have a budgetary impact.

However, it was recently reported that a CBO report from 2015 indicates Congress can repeal the insurance mandates through budget reconciliation because they have a direct, non-trivial, non-incidental effect on federal spending and the deficit.

These insurance mandates include essential health benefits which make illegal specialized and inexpensive insurance plans, community rating which price-fixes how much insurance companies can charge consumers, and guaranteed issue which bans insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Ironically, as another CBO report confirmed last month, these Obamacare insurance mandates are one of the main reasons why premiums are increasing and not repealing the mandates would increase the number of Americans who could lose health coverage.

So not only is full repeal of Obamacare through budget reconciliation good policy, but it is also good politics since full repeal would decrease the number of Americans who could lose coverage and finally provide relief to individuals experiencing out-of-control costs in premiums and deductibles. The longer Congress waits to repeal Obamacare, the greater the pain millions of Americans endure on the exchanges.

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