The Latest: Groups urge lawmakers to keep insurance mandate


The Latest on GOP tax legislation (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Major organizations representing insurers, doctors and hospitals are urging lawmakers to keep "Obamacare's" unpopular requirement that most Americans have health insurance — at least for now.

Doing away with the "individual mandate" would prompt healthy people to leave the insurance market in droves, driving up premiums, the groups argue in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders. Senate Republicans are planning to include repeal of the insurance requirement in their tax bill.

The letter says eliminating the mandate without a "workable alternative" could lead to "a significant increase in premiums, which would in turn substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans."

Signing were America's Health Insurance Plans, the BlueCross BlueShield Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals.

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2:20 p.m.

The No. 2 Senate Republican says the GOP is intent on repealing the individual mandate requirement under "Obamacare" as part of the tax bill.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told reporters on Tuesday, "We're going to repeal the tax on poor Americans."

Targeting the mandate in the tax legislation would save an estimated $338 billion over a decade that could be used to help pay for the deep cuts in corporate tax rates and other tax benefits under the plan.

Without being forced to get coverage, fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or buy federally-subsidized private insurance.

GOP senators took up the subject at their weekly lunch meeting, a day after President Donald Trump again prodded Republican lawmakers to include the repeal in their sweeping tax legislation.

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3:50 a.m.

Republicans are staking their claim to middle-class rescue on tax cut legislation deemed to carry tax hikes for millions. And President Donald Trump plans an in-person appeal to lawmakers as the proposal faces a crucial vote in the House.

Underscoring the sharp political stakes for Trump, who lacks a major legislative achievement after nearly a year in office, the president will meet with House Republicans on Thursday ahead of an expected vote on the tax overhaul legislation.

Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the House and Senate bills would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal completely the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes.

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