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Cotton and Toomey Introduce the Mandate Relief Act of 2017

October 17, 2017

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt Tabler (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) today introduced the Mandate Relief Act of 2017 to help hardworking Americans who are struggling under Obamacare's individual mandate.

"Imposing the individual mandate opened a Pandora's box of unintended consequences. Instead of stabilizing the insurance markets, it forced hardworking families to get by with even less. This bill will give them the relief they deserve by exempting working-class Americans from this cruel, unjust tax," said Cotton.

"Obamacare resulted in skyrocketing premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer affordable choices in insurance. Worst of all, if an individual or family cannot afford Obamacare's overpriced plans, they are punished financially by their own government with the individual mandate tax," said Toomey. "Of the one-quarter million Pennsylvanians who are forced to pay this punitive tax, over 80 percent earn less than $50,000. It's time to grant these families relief from Obamacare's failures."

Nearly 80 percent of the Americans who paid the individual-mandate penalty in 2016 earned less than $50,000. And it conspicuously failed to drive enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges, which declined from 2016 to 2017, despite the fact that the Obama administration doubled its advertising budget and fined nearly 6.7 million Americans for being unable to afford insurance. Specifically, the Mandate Relief Act of 2017 would exempt Americans from the individual mandate if:

  • They earn less than the national median household income.
  • Their state's average premium increased by more than 10 percent year over year.
  • They live in a county with only one health-insurance issuer.

It also removes Obamacare's penalties for using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).