Last Sunday Obama spent the better part of his day trying to explain his health care reform to the talking heads. The question most on everyone's mind was whether or not the mandated penalty of $1900.00 to be levied on those not buying insurance was in fact a tax increase. Obama insisted it was not. It would seem the IRS has a different opinion.
Senator John Ensign, R-NV, queried the chief-of-staff of the Joint Committee of Taxation, John Barthold, if the levy would be handled as a tax citing that many Americans are questioning whether the government has the Constitutional right to mandate the purchase of insurance.
Politico provided a copy of Berthold's handwritten reply. Let's see if I've got this right. People who don't need nor want to buy health insurance, for whatever reason, good, bad or indifferent, will have to do so or face a fine up to $1900.00. Forget that some of these people will be hard pressed to afford the premiums because their income's fall into a nether world just as Medicaid is today.
It's not a tax according to Obama yet Berthold cites Section 7203 of the tax code stating wilful failure to comply could lead to a misdemeanor charge with fines up to $25,000 and not more to a year in jail! Ouch!
If it should ever uptick to felony tax evasion the poor person who couldn't afford the premiums what's more the $1900 could wind up facing a fine of $100,000 for an individual and five years in prison.
Just be forewarned if the Baucus bill is the one that passes, it states, as of now, the penalty is a tax. Buyer beware! I hesitate to call this whole health care reform exercise a mess; the term doesn't seem to be strong enough!