September 23, 2018
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Susan Collins: Tucking Obamacare repeal into tax bill would hurt middle class

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, left, and White House advisor Ivanka Trump arrive at a forum on tax reform at Volk Packaging, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, in Biddeford, Maine.
By Steve Mistler, Maine Public
Updated:

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said the proposal to repeal a key component of the Affordable Care Act in the GOP tax overhaul could wipe out any tax break middle-income Americans might get under the plan.

Collins has said she wants to pass a tax overhaul, and last week she appeared with Ivanka Trump in Biddeford to promote the idea. But she says repealing the ACA provision that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance complicates the debate — and could possibly hurt the same people the tax plan is supposed to benefit.

She told reporters Wednesday that repealing the ACA’s individual mandate will increase insurance premiums. And that means any tax break for middle-income earners could be canceled out, especially if they don’t qualify for ACA insurance subsidies.

Collins says she has other concerns with the tax bill. But so far, she’s not saying if any or all of them will prompt her to vote against it.

There are at least two versions of tax overhaul floating through Congress. The House and Senate will have to reconcile those differences before either can get to President Donald Trump for final approval.

Passing a tax bill has become of urgent importance for the GOP, which controls the White House and Congress, but has thus far been unable to pass major legislative priorities. And the tax bill is facing some of the same problems as its failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act: balancing disparate factions within the GOP.

Additionally, the Senate tax proposal is currently poised to undercut a promise from Trump to never cut Medicare. A recent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Senate plan could trigger sequestration across some big federal spending lines, cutting Medicare, federal student loans and agriculture subsidies.

This report appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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