The final tax bill to be considered by Congress would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate and expand the medical expense deduction.
House and Senate lawmakers reconciled their different versions that passed both chambers. The bill released Friday will be the version that both chambers vote on next week before sending to President Trump.
The bill would zero out the penalties for Obamacare’s individual mandate for everyone to get health insurance starting in 2019, effectively repealing the mandate used to get younger and healthier people to sign up for healthcare.
It is not clear if the final version will get the support of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been pressing for Congress to take up two Obamacare stabilization bills before a final vote on taxes.
There is still a possibility that the two bills be included in a Dec. 22 continuing resolution.
Collins pursued the bills to blunt expected premium increases caused by repealing the mandate. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums would rise because of 13 million people choosing not to get health insurance.
But the CBO has said it will look into the methodology for calculating the insurance coverage from the mandate loss. Another estimate from research firm Standard & Poor’s found the mandate would lead to only three to five million people going without insurance.
The final tax bill does adopt an addition that Collins negotiated into the Senate version: expanding the medical expense deduction.
The federal government currently lets taxpayers deduct medical expenses that reach 10 percent of their gross annual income. The final version changes that to 7.5 percent of gross income, meaning people can hit the threshold for deductions faster.
The House version eliminated the deduction entirely.