Tom Cotton: The ObamaCare Mandate ‘Is Nothing More Than a Tax on Working Families and Poor Americans’
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay. Let’s move on to tax reform. Thirteen million people will be without coverage if the individual mandate is removed as you’d like to see in this tax cut plan. What happens to those thirteen million?
SENATOR TOM COTTON: Well, John, remember what the hated Obamacare mandate is. It finds an American family that can’t afford their insurance, insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable in the first place. So this bill doesn’t cut a single dime from Medicaid, it doesn’t cut a single dime from the insurance subsidies, it doesn’t change a single regulation in Obamacare. It simply says the IRS cannot fine you if you cannot afford health insurance. So this has no impact on anyone who wants to get health insurance under Obamacares, individual exchanges or under the Medicaid expansion under their employer’s plan. It simply says that working families and poor Americans, because four out of five Americans who pay this fine make less than fifty thousand dollars, will no longer be fined for not being able to afford their insurance.
JOHN DICKERSON: But the estimate says the people won’t get insurance and they will get sick, they will go to— will go to emergency rooms, prices will increase. Premiums will increase also because insurers will be insuring a sicker pool of people. So you’ve got premiums going up which— what’s your answer to that?
SENATOR TOM COTTON: Well, my answer to that is that we need to solve all the problems that Obamacare made worse in our health care system. We worked on that over the summer, we failed. I wish that wasn’t the case but we have a tax bill now that will repeal the most hated and unpopular part of Obamacare, the individual mandate which is nothing more than a tax on working families and poor Americans. I hope next year that we return to health care, but right now I’m focused on this tax— tax bill.
JOHN DICKERSON: But it’s also a tax if their premiums go up, and so there’ll be a little bit of a middle class tax cut as part of this tax cut bill but then won’t— if people’s premiums go up, doesn’t that negate the benefit of the tax cut?
SENATOR TOM COTTON: No, John, that’s not right. So every income group under the Senate bill will see a tax cut. Now, if you voluntarily choose not to get your insurance through Obamacare premiums then yeah the federal government will not be paying tax subsidy not to you individually but to an insurance company. But that’s a result of a voluntary choice that you make based on your own family’s needs and finances.