CBO: #ObamaCare tax penalty to hit 6 million middle class uninsured by 2016

Posted by: ST on September 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Toldjah so:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 6 million Americans — most of them in the middle class — will face a tax penalty for not carrying medical coverage once President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law is fully in place, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.

The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises.

The numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office are significantly higher than a previous projection by the same office in 2010, shortly after the law passed.

The earlier estimate found 4 million people would be affected in 2016, when the penalty is fully in effect. The difference — 2 million people— represents a 50 percent increase.

That’s still only a sliver of the population, given that more than 150 million people currently are covered by employer plans. Nonetheless, in his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000.

And the budget office analysis found that nearly 80 percent of those who’ll face the penalty would be making up to or less than five times the federal poverty level. Currently that would work out to $55,850 or less for an individual and $115,250 or less for a family of four.

Average penalty: about $1,200 in 2016.

Bbbbbbbut I thought President Obama didn’t want to “put a burden on the middle class with a tax hike””? /sarc  And how do you like the sheer arrogance of an Obama spokeswoman on your “civic responsibility” to get health insurance or pay your penalty?

A spokeswoman for the Obama administration said 98 percent of Americans will not be affected by the tax penalty — and suggested that those who will be should face up to their civic responsibilities.

“This (analysis) doesn’t change the basic fact that the individual responsibility policy will only affect people who can afford health care but choose not to buy it,” said Erin Shields Britt of the Health and Human Services Department. “We’re no longer going to subsidize the care of those who can afford to buy insurance but make a choice not to buy it.”

I would love for Mitt Romney to be able to hammer the administration on this issue but I don’t know how he effectively could, considering his own push for RomneyCare in MA and how the administration will try to turn the issue back around on him.   Still, it’s worth a shot because the Obama campaign has been hitting hard on the issue of “tax cuts for the rich” while “leaving the middle class to pick up the slack”, etc.

We shall see.

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6 Responses to “CBO: #ObamaCare tax penalty to hit 6 million middle class uninsured by 2016”


  1. Once the voting public wakes up to the fact Obhammudcare is the largest tax increase in this nation’s history he could well join the ranks of the unemployed. Quietly, that may already be the case, especially when the Washington Examiner’s latest story “The Man Behind The Image” is published tomorrow (tonight on their website).
    The Romneycare bill is not the poison pill some imagine in that it was never intended as a “one size fits all” approach in the first place. Like the old saying has it, “Will it play in Peoria?”.

  2. tom says:

    Help me understand this argument that health insurance should not be compulsory.

    Everyone requires health coverage- at some point – and it WILL be paid for. It will be paid for either by the recipient by requiring coverage beforehand (like RomneyCare does now), or by the hospital or federal government via the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) passed in 1986 as part of the OMNIBUS. It seems to me the only way to stop the moochers from getting free medical care is to require coverage or pay a tax penalty.

  3. Carlos says:

    The question isn’t whether “everyone requires health coverage – at some point – and it WILL be paid for…”, tom, the question is whether the federal government has either the right OR the responsibility to force such from its citizens.

    And to those of us who think the writers of our Constitution meant what they said when they wrote that anything not specifically reserved to the federal government by the language of that Constitution SHALL be reserved to the several states, or to the citizens.

    Not a whole bunch of wiggle room there, in my humble opinion, but what do I know? I’m just a dumb country boy who used to teach English…

  4. tom says:

    Thanks for the reply Carlos. Presumably you oppose the Federal law requiring hospitals to give emergency care to the uninsured. I just wonder why I have never heard anyone railing against this law that forces one person or entity to provide services to another and without compensation.

  5. Crabbyolebroad says:

    See, the thing that bothers me is we already have a national health care, in the form of Medicaid. I don’t understand why states couldn’t say ok, every person in our state will be insured. If you want a nicer plan, you pay xx amount of money. If you don’t have money you get the basics, just like normal. And if a person cannot afford to buy insurance how are they going to afford a penalty? I also think general health should govern how much you pay. My parents, who are hyperactive fitness buffs in their 60s, and with only my father having a chronic issue with rheumatoid arthritis, should not have to pay the same rates as someone who is morbidly obese and takes 80 different medications to control blood pressure etc, has 3 stents and continues to eat Burger King. Since my parents are very proactive in their health, they should get a break. That might be an incentive for others. The ERs are overwhelmed at times, but not as bad as in the UK, where the wait can be as long as a day for non-emergent care. One of the ways to make health care more affordable is doing away with the patient’s ability to sue for emotional distress, etc. If your feelings are hurt cause the doctor told you to put the cookie down, oh well. If you fail to tell the doctor medications or street drugs you took or that you are a raging alcoholic and you get hurt by a medication, that’s your fault. Doctors are paying 100,000 a year or more for malpractice insurance due to frivolous suits. Another way is not to allow a hospital to charge 20.00 for 2 Tylenol.

  6. tom says:

    Crabby – what you’re saying makes sense. Medicare for all – essentially single payer. Under Romney or Obamacare if a person can’t afford insurance it is paid for them, so if someone can’t afford to buy insurance there is no penalty. There is only a penalty if you can afford it but don’t pay (moocher). Even after paying for free care for some, in the long run this is still cheaper for everyone because health maintenance is cheaper than ER care. I agree with your cost saving ideas including Tort reform and incentivizing healthy behavior. BTW, hospitals charge $2 Tylenols to recoup the ER costs of the moochers. This ER care is paid by someone, one way or another.