Obamacare | The Government's Takeover of Health Care

Enforcement of Obamacare is Unknown

To encourage Americans to sign up for Obamacare if they don't already have health care insurance is that they'll face a financial penalty, which starts small in the first year and increases in the future.  Of all place, The New York Times admits it's unclear as to how strict the Obama regime will be enforcing this.  Why?  It could be that many people not signing up for Obamacare simply can't afford it and Democrats don't want to alienate any potential voters.  As always, there's a reason for every move this radical administration makes.  And it's not good press for the White House to be making headlines about fining millions of people - many of which lost their health care because of Obamacare.

From The New York Times:

Q. What happens if a consumer does not sign up for insurance by the Monday deadline?

A. The consumer may be subject to financial penalties, to be paid with federal income taxes next year. However, the federal government has said it will stretch the sign-up deadline for people who started an application and could not finish it for one reason or another.

To preserve their rights, consumers can call the federal insurance marketplace (1-800-318-2596) and request a “special enrollment perod.”

Officials running the federal marketplace, which serves 36 states, will provide an unspecified amount of extra time to people who are “in line as of March 31,” and some states running their own exchanges have adopted similar policies.

In addition, the White House says, consumers may be able to obtain more time if they attest that they have had difficulty signing up — if, for example, they encountered error messages or “other system errors.” Officials will not generally investigate such claims, but they note that the application for health coverage is submitted under penalty of perjury.

Q. What is the penalty for going without insurance?

A. The penalty is either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of household income, whichever is greater.

The flat dollar amount this year is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to a maximum of $285 for a family

Many people will be subject to a higher penalty: 1 percent of household income above the “filing threshold.” The threshold this year is $10,150 for individuals and $20,300 for married couples filing joint returns. People with gross income below these thresholds are generally not required to file tax returns, and they can obtain exemptions from the penalties.

For a single person with income of $40,000 this year, the penalty would be $298.50. The first step in calculating the penalty is to subtract the filing threshold ($10,150) from household income ($40,000). The result is $29,850. One percent of that is $298.50.

For a married couple with two children and household income of $70,000, the penalty would be $497. That is 1 percent of household income above the threshold.

The penalty will increase in future years. In 2016, it will be $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income over the threshold, whichever is greater.

It is unclear how aggressive the government will be in enforcing the requirement to have insurance and in collecting the penalty. If a consumer fails to pay the penalty at tax time, the Internal Revenue Service can deduct it from any refund owed to the taxpayer, but it cannot impose a lien on property or garnish wages. Under the health care law, the consumer “shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution” for the failure.

Once the fines begin, expect Democrats to try and minimize the details.  This is the part of Obamacare that they don't want attention from.  It's the part of the law that forces Americans to buy something they don't want, which is unconstitutional.

Chuck Justice is the editor-in-chief for Habledash.

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