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Messer Among Lawmakers Asking For Individual Mandate Repeal In GOP Tax Bill

Posted On December 13, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

In this June 17, 2017 file photo, Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., appears on Capitol Hill in Washington. Messer is running for Senate in Indiana, though he primarily lives with his family in suburban Washington. It could complicate his plans to win the Republican primary and unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly next year. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Washington) – Indiana U.S. Congressman Luke Messer is pushing for the removal of the individual mandate in Obamacare.

On Tuesday, the Republican congressman from Indiana was among 70-plus members of the House to sign onto a letter to lawmakers part of the GOP tax cut bill conference committee, asking them to repeal the individual mandate. The negotiators are trying to resolve differences before a final bill is voted on.

“Until enactment of Obamacare, the federal government had never required individuals, as a condition of lawful residence in the United States, to purchase a product from a private company,” the letter states.

The repeal was included in the Senate version of the bill, but it was not part of the bill passed in the House.  A sweeping package of tax cuts and reforms is President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority.

The Obamacare individual mandate requires U.S. citizens to have health insurance or pay a fine. This year, the minimum fine was $695 per adult. In 2015, about 140,000 Hoosiers paid the fine instead of receiving insurance, according to the IRS.

“The Obamacare individual mandate is a tax on low and middle income Hoosiers, plain and simple,” Messer said. “It’s outrageous that the federal government continues to penalize folks who can’t afford Obamacare’s skyrocketing health insurance premiums. We should immediately repeal this burdensome Obamacare mandate and deliver much-needed relief to middle-class Hoosiers. Our best shot at accomplishing this is to include it in the final tax cut plan.”

President Trump will address tax cuts in a White House speech Wednesday afternoon.

Republicans insist that their legislation will help working families. Democrats say it is aimed at boosting the wealthy and will blow-up federal deficits.