Throughout the debate over Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has attributed great power to the mandate but has been backing away from that view. (Image: Shutterstock)

They may not have succeeded in repealing and replacing Obamacare, but Republicans are close to undoing the law’s least popular feature. The Senate has passed a tax bill to abolish Obamacare’s fines on people who go without health insurance — the so-called individual mandate. House Republicans are very likely to agree on that provision.

In the past, I’ve called for the fines to be abolished – but only as part of a broader legislative change to Obamacare. Just two months ago, I argued that President Donald Trump should keep enforcing the fines. My main objection concerned the separation of powers: The president has to wait for Congress to pass a bill to lift the fines. I also suggested, though, that lifting the fines without a broader adjustment of Obamacare would be irresponsible.

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