U.S. Rep. David Jolly calls for repealing individual mandate

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Pinellas County Republican David Jolly has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would repeal the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all Americans to have health care insurance or a pay a fine. Calling it the “Patient Freedom Act of 2014,” the bill would remove that provision, perhaps the most controversial aspect of President Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement.

“I believe the American people should be in control of their own health care decisions, not government, and this bill gives them that freedom,” Jolly said in a press release.

This is not the first time a House Republican has proposed legislation regarding removing the individual mandate. Earlier this year there was a proposal introduced that would suspend the mandate, introduced by Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise.

Currently, the individual mandate penalty is $95, or 1% of one’s annual household income. Next year that will increase to 2% of one’s annual income, or $325 per person, whichever is greatest.

The individual mandate has been perhaps the most contentious portion of the ACA, although it was also a key part of the health care plan that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed into law last decade. And it was championed by a number of conservative economists and research groups back in the 1990’s, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Speaking on the floor of the House this morning, Jolly said,”Unlike the 906 page bill that was Obamacare, this bill, the Patient Freedom Act, is just two pages.” He said it would be foolish to think that the president would sign a repeal of the ACA, which is why he says he is only calling for the individual mandate to be repealed.

If Jolly’s bill passed the House and later the Senate, it would affect retroactively, repealing the penalty for taxable years ending after December 31, 2013.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.