The White House is reportedly preparing an executive order to weaken ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the event congressional Republicans don’t include the measure in the tax-reform bill.
According to the Washington Examiner and The Washington Post, the draft executive order would seek to broaden the “hardship exemptions” to the requirement that taxpayers must demonstrate proof of insurance or pay a fine.
The White House denies such an order exists, and told The Hill when asked for comment that any changes to the mandate are best made by Congress.
President Trump and some congressional Republicans have been pushing to include a repeal of the mandate in the GOP’s tax bill. House leaders were initially reluctant to include such a provision because of the political risk, but momentum is building.
Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administrationAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has syste...Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out cause...MORE (R-Wis.) said over the weekend that repeal of the mandate is being discussed for possible inclusion in the final version of the bill.
"We have an active conversation with our members on a whole host of ideas on things to add to this bill and that's one of the things being discussed," Ryan told "Fox News Sunday."
Repealing the mandate would save about $400 billion, which could be used to help pay for tax cuts, but the Congressional Budget Office also says 15 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would rise 20 percent.
The hardship exemption has traditionally been granted in cases such as the death of a family member, bankruptcy, a natural disaster or when a taxpayer cannot afford to pay his or her utilities, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to experts, hundreds of thousands of people already get exemptions from the mandate. Even through an executive order, there isn’t much room for Trump to lawfully expand the exemptions.