Now the Obama Administration is officially embarrassed by their healthcare comparison website’s abject failure. The “Affordable” Care Act (Obamacare) soap opera was caused them to do what republicans asked them to do earlier this month – delay the mandate enforcement, in line with what they did for businesses already.
The mandate is to be delayed until March 31, 2014.
So it turns out Obama and the democrats forced the government to shut down because they didn’t listen, and they ended up doing what the republicans asked for.
Don’t expect Obama to mention that!
Obama Unilaterally Changes Personal Mandate
March 31, 2014 will now be the deadline for all Americans to have health insurance or face penalties, unless something else happens.
What is especially noteworthy is that President Obama issued this new date without consulting Congress. That is a direct violation of the Constitution, but that isn’t unusual for this president. But don’t expect much resistance from the media or the docile Republicans. It will be interesting to see if any of them grow a backbone.
As for the American people, until they receive notices of cancellation, and we have already heard that many have already received theirs. For others, it is of no concern to them directly – yet.
Part of the Obamacare law, that lawmakers failed to read before it was pushed through, allows for the IRS to enforce the mandate penalty that was written to try to force everyone to buy insurance, whether they wanted it or not.
Can The IRS Enforce Penalties?
What is unknown right now is whether the IRS can and will enforce the penalties. Apparently, yes – to a point. Americans will file their 2014 tax returns by April 15, 2015. Insurers must provide information to the IRS showing that individual taxpayers are paying their health insurance premiums.
The latest rules, which seem to change daily in this soap opera, state “individuals who don’t obtain health coverage in a given year are subject to a fine of $95 per individual or one percent of family income, whichever is greater.”
That penalty increases to $325 per adult or two percent of family income, whichever is greater, in 2015.
How will that be enforced?
George Orwell Rolling Over In His Grave
George Orwell must be rolling over in his grave, as his story comes to life. The Orwellian part of Obamacare says that if you don’t have “adequate health coverage” (don’t know how that is measured) by the deadline, the IRS will withhold the amount you owe.
That text comes directly from HealthCare.gov, the government’s marketplace website.
The next question is how they will “withhold” if you are not receiving a tax refund? The IRS could carry the fine over to the next next tax year, but as usual, no one has answers to this in the ongoing soap opera.
Another possibility is that they could garnish your salary, but that is likely to cost more than the amount garnished. That has not stopped the government before!
Law Expert’s Opinion
According to Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, “If you don’t pay it, all they can do is wait until they owe you some money and take that. Or probably just send you a letter every now and then reminding you that you owe money to the IRS.”
Whatever they do, administrative costs are likely to eat up and even cost more than what they would collect.
Professor Jost is coauthor of the casebook “Health Law.”
According to Professor Jost, the law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any “payment you owe related to the law, if you, your spouse or a dependent included on your tax return does not have minimum essential coverage.”
It appears the entire mess is being held together with duct tape as the liberals desperately try to salvage any credibility in what is truly the nation’s ongoing soap opera. It is a soap opera of such magnitude that their entire world could come tumbling down over this takeover of one-sixth of the American economy.
But stay tuned. Another option for the IRS is to sue you for non-payment, possibly garnish your salary – or maybe jail.
Loopholes In A Mess
It isn’t yet clear whether the IRS is ready to pounce on violators of the Obamacare rules, but we will be watching for the first leap.
Rush Limbaugh pointed out the loophole in this entire mess. “If you structure your taxes so that you do not get a refund, you do not have to buy insurance and you do not have to pay a fine ’cause they can’t collect it from you if you don’t have a refund due. And that is just another nail in the coffin of Obamacare imploding on itself.”
Unfortunately, Obamacare has destroyed a working system that most Americans with insurance were relatively happy with, even though many thought the costs were too high. It seems those were the good old days.
The law is like nuclear proliferation. It just gets bigger and bigger over time, just like the rest of the federal government.