The tax deal reached by House and Senate Republicans includes a provision that would eliminate Obamacare penalties waged on people who do not have health insurance.
The individual mandate is one of the most unpopular parts of Obamacare, but its supporters say that some impetus is needed to bring in people who might otherwise choose to go uninsured — meaning younger, healthier enrollees. Critics have said that it is an example of government overreach and that it has failed to achieve its enrollment goals.
The Senate version of the tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, included the repeal, but the House version did not. Members from both chambers are meeting in conference to hash out that and other differences.
House members supported repealing the individual mandate penalties in a bill passed to repeal and replace Obamacare passed earlier this year. President Trump supports repealing the mandate penalties.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor that the tax deal would "repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate tax, delivering relief to low- and middle-income Americans who have struggled under an unpopular and unworkable law." The remarks were made as part of a larger speech to update the public on the progress of the bill.
Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, one of eight Senate Republicans named to the committee to hash out the tax bill, said Tuesday, "I think it's very likely in the end the repeal of the individual mandate will stay in the bill."
The Congressional Budget Office projected that 13 million more people would become uninsured if the mandate were to be repealed, but is re-evaluating how it makes its projections on the provision. Standard & Poor's has projected that 5 million or fewer people would be uninsured.
Insurers have warned that without a replacement for the mandate, such as a waiting period, premiums would rise and more insurers would leave the exchanges.
Republicans hope to pass their tax bill by Tuesday.
• Susan Ferrechio contributed to this report.