CBO: Individual mandate delay to save taxpayers $9 billion

A proposal passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives this week would save taxpayers $9 billion over the next decade, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

H.R. 4118 — Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness (SIMPLE Fairness) Act — would suspend the controversial individual mandate tax for one-year. The measure is House Republicans’ response to the Obama administration’s most recent delay of the employer mandate.

“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting H.R. 4118 would reduce federal deficits by roughly $10 billion over the 2014-2019 period and by roughly $9 billion over the 2014-2024 period,” the nonpartisan fiscal agency reported. “Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.”

Those who fail to purchase health insurance by March 31, 2014 will face a tax of $95 or 1% of their gross taxable income, whichever is greater. The individual mandate tax will increase to $695 or 2.5% of gross income by 2016. The SIMPLE Fairness Act would set the tax for 2014 to $0.

The White House pledged to veto the SIMPLE Fairness Act in a statement of administration policy addressed to the House Rules Committee. The measure passed the House of Representatives in a 250 to 160 vote. Twenty-seven Democrats backed the legislation.

The House of Representatives passed an almost identical legislation last summer with some Democratic support and a separate measure to codify the administration legally questionable delay of the employer mandate. The White House threatened to veto both measures.

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