Trump touts repeal of key part in 'disastrous Obamacare' — the individual mandate

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump boasted about the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate.
  • The Affordable Care Act rule imposes a fine on people who fail to have health coverage.
  • The tax penalty for not having coverage will be suspended effective in 2019.
President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump boasted Tuesday night about killing Obamacare's requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a fine.

Trump did not mention during his State of the Union address, however, that last year he and fellow Republicans failed to repeal and replace many other parts of the Affordable Care Act, as they had eagerly sought.

"We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they could not afford government-ordered health plans," Trump told an audience made up of both chambers of Congress, and others.

"We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone," Trump said.

The individual mandate's enforcement was repealed, effective in 2019, as part of a major tax bill passed by Congress last month.

The mandate remains in effect for 2018.

Most people who do not have health coverage that complies with minimum standards outlined by the Affordable Care Act this year face a tax penalty of $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is higher. However, there are a slew of exemptions to the mandate.

The Protect Our Care Campaign, an Obamacare advocacy group, said Trump in his comments had "doubled down on the war on health care" waged by his administration and by Republicans in Congress.

"Tonight's speech was a succinct summary of health care during the Trump Administration's first year: full of lies, short on solutions, and indifferent to the Americans who have been harmed by its policies," said Protect Our Care Director Brad Woodhouse.

"During last year's speech, President Trump said he would lower premiums, protect those with pre-existing conditions, and protect Medicaid," Woodhouse said.

"Instead, he signed a bill which will raise premiums double-digits and deny coverage to millions, championed bills removing protections for pre-existing conditions and imposing an age tax, and implemented Medicaid requirements designed to deny coverage to people who need it the most," Woodhouse said. "And 3.2 million Americans lost their health care in 2017 as a result of his sabotage."