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Senate GOP Eyes Health Care Mandate To Help Pay For Tax Cuts

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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) -- Republicans are going after a key part of Obamacare to help pay for their tax cut plan.

Members of the Senate GOP want to get rid of the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act, which requires people to buy insurance or pay a fine.

"The goal is to repeal an unpopular tax from an unworkable law-in-order to provide more tax relief to middle class families," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Repealing the mandate would save the government $330 billion over the next 10 years and that money would help offset the increase in the deficit from the tax cuts.

"Eighty percent of the people who pay the mandate tax make less than $50,000 a year, and a third of those who pay the tax make less than $25,000 a year," said Sen. John Thune (R-SD).

House GOP Leadership Discuss The House Vote on Republican Tax Plan
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrives for a press conference following a weekly meeting of the House Republican caucus November 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

But getting rid of the mandate will also lead to an estimated 13 million people losing their insurance over the same 10-year period.

"The Republican bill takes $400 billion out of health for healthcare and gives it to the wealthy and powerful for even more tax breaks," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The move comes as the House is preparing to vote on its version of tax reform, and the individual mandate repeal will not be a part of its bill.

"We're pushing this bill as we have it," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). "There's ongoing conversations, it's a work in progress."

There is a lot of support for the mandate repeal among House members. But Sen. Ryan said it's too late to add it before Thursday's scheduled vote. The Senate is planning a vote on its tax reform bill after the Thanksgiving break. After that, a Senate and House conference committee will meet to work out the differences between the two bills.

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