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Pennsylvania U.S. senators weigh in on GOP plan that cuts Obamacare rule

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF | Nov 15, 2017 3:50 AM

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Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks about President Donald Trump's first 100 days, during a media availability on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Washington. Casey was livid at what he said was a GOP effort to rush the provision through before the holidays, derailing bipartisan efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Washington) -- Senate Republicans have added a provision in their tax overhaul plan to end the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.

The individual mandate requires all Americans to sign up for health insurance or face a tax penalty.

Critics have said it's unfair to penalize people for not having insurance. But supporters say, without it, the Affordable Care Act exchange will fall apart, because there will be fewer healthy people to pay into the risk pool.

Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey is livid over the move -- saying the only people to benefit from the bill are GOP donors and the very wealthy.

"When those four million people lose their health care, we're all worse off. It's not just that we're diminished as a society. When those people don't have health care... they get their health care in the emergency room, and we all pay for that."

Casey says, the GOP is pushing to pass the tax overhaul before the holidays, derailing other bipartisan efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act. 

Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who backs the plan, says in a statement the repeal will "give relief to hard-working Pennsylvanians."

"The individual mandate tax is based on a flawed premise that the federal government should force Americans to buy overpriced health insurance even if they don't want it, and can't afford it."

He says it will also allow for changes to the tax code, which will make American businesses more globally competitive.

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