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GUEST COLUMN: Senate tax reform bill simply removes mandate

By: KEVIN LUNDBERG
December 4, 2017 Updated: December 4, 2017 at 4:05 am
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Last week U.S. Senator Michael Bennet repeatedly said the Senate tax reform bill will cause 13 million Americans to lose their medical insurance. I have not read or heard anyone challenge his assertions, but since it is such a blatant attempt to turn the truth on its head, here is my challenge to this logic.

In a Senate Finance Committee meeting marking up the tax reform bill Bennet said:

"...at least 13 million people are going to lose their health care insurance. ...and those are the people whose insurance you are taking away with this tax bill, 13 million Americans. ...you are making it harder and harder to afford insurance."

First, let's be clear: the Senate bill simply removes the individual mandate tax for those who do not purchase Obamacare approved health insurance (it is called a tax but is really a penalty of $695 to $2,085 for individuals and families). This means that for those families and individuals who cannot afford the thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars for medical insurance, repealing the individual mandate penalty will release those people from the heavy cost of that onerous "tax."

The 13 million people Sen. Bennet cites is the number of citizens in our nation who may choose to not buy Obamacare medical insurance in future years, a choice they may make because they cannot afford it.

Forcing citizens to buy super expensive Obamacare compatible medical insurance is what is really making this insurance unaffordable, not the opposite.

Eliminate the mandate and citizens will be more free to choose the medical insurance that works for them. Additionally, insurance companies will need to create more competitive insurance products, which will help make insurance more affordable.

With a tortured logic, Sen. Bennet insists that forcing citizens to buy Obamacare compliant medical insurance will somehow result in lower costs. Where in the history of medical expenses can it be shown that slapping a heavy tax on those who choose to not buy the insurance will result in diminishing overall costs?

The hollow promises of lower premiums that Obama made for this plan certainly did not work.

The only mechanism in the mandate tax that may have a positive effect on insurance premiums is that it tries to force younger and more healthy adults to buy medical insurance at inflated prices that can then subsidize more expensive medical users. Not only did this turn out to be untrue with Obamacare, it is also an insult to principles of freedom and should never be employed by a government dedicated to life and liberty.

Bottom line: This tax falls on the shoulders of families and individuals who can least afford it. The people of Colorado understand this simple fact. I challenge Sen. Bennet to reconsider his words, retract his opposition, and support this important part of the tax reform package.

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Kevin Lundberg (R) is a Colorado state senator from District 15.

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