Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.
Byron York writes: The Democrats who wrote and passed the Affordable Care Act were sure of two things: The law had to include a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance, and it had to have an enforcement mechanism to make the mandate work. Enforcement has always been at the heart of Obamacare.
Now, though, enforcement time has come, and some Democrats are shying away from the coercive measures they themselves wrote into law.
“Enforcement Has Always Been at the Heart of Obamacare”
The Internal Revenue Service is the enforcement arm of Obamacare, and with tax forms due April 15, Americans who did not purchase coverage and who have not received one of the many exemptions already offered by the administration are discovering they will have to pay a substantial fine. For a household with, say, no kids and two earners making $35,000 a piece, the fine will be $500, paid at tax time.
“And there’s very little chance the individual mandate’s approval numbers will improve, now that millions of Americans are getting a taste of what it really means.”
That’s already a fact. What is particularly worrisome to Democrats now is that, as those taxpayers discover the penalty they owe, they will already be racking up a new, higher penalty for 2015. This year, the fine for not obeying Obamacare’s edict is $325 per adult, or two percent of income above the filing threshold, whichever is higher. So that couple making $35,000 a year each will have to pay $1,000.
There’s another problem. The administration’s enrollment period just ended on February 15. So if people haven’t signed up for Obamacare already, they’ll be stuck paying the higher penalty for 2015.
“The individual mandate has always been extremely unpopular. In December 2014, just a couple of months ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 64 percent of those surveyed don’t like the mandate. The level of disapproval has been pretty consistent since the law was passed.”
By the way, Democrats don’t like to call the Obamacare penalty a penalty; its official name is the Shared Responsibility Payment. But the fact is, the lawmakers’ intent in levying the fines was to make it so painful for the average American to ignore Obamacare that he or she will ultimately knuckle under and do as instructed.
Except that it’s easier to inflict theoretical pain than actual pain. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite claiming about a third of the uninsured population, the Obama administration has struggled to attract Latin Americans to Obamacare. According to one Latino health advocate, the population is simply “not at the table,” and expectations for Latinos to sign up to use the public health exchanges is low. Statistics show that many Latinos are choosing to be fined over having to sign up for Obamacare. This is of particular concern in California, where the healthcare exchanges were considered “the number one priority” of the state and Latinos make up more than half of the state’s uninsured population. Read the rest of this entry »