WASHINGTON — President Trump celebrated the tax bill that Congress approved on Wednesday by characterizing it as a two-for-one victory, falsely claiming that it also made good on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed,” Mr. Trump said in a cabinet meeting. “We have essentially repealed Obamacare, and we will come up with something that will be much better.”
Mr. Trump’s suggestion that he kept two key campaign promises with one bill is not accurate.
Effectively, the tax bill does repeal the individual mandate beginning in 2019. The mandate is a core component of the Affordable Care Act and fines people who do not have health insurance. But the tax bill leaves every other vital part of the current health care law intact.
“The A.C.A. is far more than the mandate, and the repeal of the mandate is by no means a fatal blow. Most of the A.C.A. survives, and most of its coverage gains will remain,” said Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law and a contributing editor for the journal Health Affairs.
Republicans repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act over the summer. The individual mandate was one of 12 key elements of the health care law, which also included provisions that addressed access to insurance, requirements for insurance policies and costs of coverage.
Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with at least 50 employees must offer insurance to full-time workers. Medicaid eligibility was expanded to cover more low-income people, and young adults under 26 could stay on their parents’ plans.
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