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Toothless Tax Won't Push People To Buy Health Insurance

07/31/12

  11:47:58 am, by MedBen5   , 267 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

Toothless Tax Won't Push People To Buy Health Insurance

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty for not buying health insurance constitutes a tax – a decision that had Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans scrambling to, respectively, do damage control or make political hay. But as Joseph Antos and Michael R. Strain point out, the tax will do little to spur insurance purchases:

“Generally speaking, if you owe the IRS, it will get the money from you – with the possible exception of the ObamaCare tax. Though ObamaCare’s individual mandate imposes a tax on people who do not purchase government-approved health insurance, the law explicitly neuters the IRS’s ability to collect the tax.

“Bizarre? Yes. And it matters. If policymakers expect uninsured young people to buy health insurance when it is even more expensive than it is today, the threat of serious consequences for not doing so must be real. Yes, the threat that the IRS might come after you if you do not do what you are told looks real at first glance. But Democratic politicians, fearing public backlash for making the mandate too intrusive, pulled its teeth. […]

“[T]he law counts on most of the scofflaws turning themselves in. If you do not have insurance and think you owe the tax, then you will be asked to check a box to that effect on your tax return. If you choose to ignore the mandate, you might also choose not to check the box. But even those who do confess that they do not have insurance may not be liable for the new tax.”

Read more at The Health Care Blog.

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