Free Markets, Free People

My Favorite Part of the House Health Care Bill

Coming in at 1,992 pages, I’m sure there’s something in there that appeals to everyone.  But if I had to pick any part of the bill to single out for special mention, it’s this:

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

Now, it’s a bit more complicated than that, because it requires that you wilfully evade the tax by refusing to pay it, or by fraudulently claiming reduced income in order to evade income taxation under the IRS code.  But still, the statutory authority is there to send you to federal prison for five years for essentially refusing to maintain the appropriate medical coverage, and then refusing to pay the 2.5% income tax surcharge.

No doubt this will make the public much more excited about the House version of health care reform then they were previously.

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11 Responses to My Favorite Part of the House Health Care Bill

  • It’s the “wilfully evade the tax by refusing to pay it” part that bothers me.  Unless they invent a will-o-meter (which would also prove useful in the prosecution of “hate crimes”), this means whatever the hell the government wants it to mean.  Did you lose your job 2 weeks before Christmas and chose to go without insurance for the remainder of the year?  You could have used your savings to purchase insurance, so your Christmas gift purchases for your kids are now evidence of your “willful” evasion… but maybe only if you’re a member of the party not in power, or a vocal opponent of a powerful somebody’s pet cause.
    The people are all lined up and bent over and the government is holding a paddle and whacking it lightly on the palm of their hand, but why on earth would the people get the impression government wants to spank them?  Especially when the government is saying they aren’t going to spank anyone (today)?

    • I seem to recall that to the IRS, “willful evasion” means that you are paying other bills while the tax debt remains unpaid.  So, if you’re paying your mortgage and not paying your taxes, the IRS will nail you.
      Fun, isn’t it?

  • but maybe only if you’re a member of the party not in power, or a vocal opponent of a powerful somebody’s pet cause.
    That’s the part that worries me.  This is exactly the sort of thing that can be misused or abused.  Doesn’t anyone ever consider that at some point, ‘the other guys’ may be in power and have this at their fingertips?

    • Sorry, meant to post this as a reply to Wacky Hermit, with the first sentence as a quotation.

  • So, let me see if I’ve got this right:

    You WILL have health insurance or Uncle Sugar WILL throw you in prison and fine the sh*t out of you.


    If that’s the dems’ (totalitarian) approach, then why not save a few hundred billion and simply make THAT the “universal health care” bill?  Uncle Sugar wouldn’t have to spend much money at all.

  • let me see if i have this straight.  you don’t buy insurance and you don’t pay the fine presumably  raising the rates of the  insured people  or putting the tax payer on the hook for any medical services you receive and you go to jail where you get tax payer funded health care, lodging, meals, utilities, etc?  Anybody else see the irony here?

  • I look forward to the Government’s attempt to throw me in jail when I refuse to get insurance, and refuse to pay the fine.
    Bring it on, Uncle Sam.

  • Maybe I’m confusing this part of the bill with anothe part, but I seem to recall a provision that subjects the spouse to the same penalties, whether he or she also evaded the mandate and tax or not, and whether he or she knew of the non-compliant spouse’s behavior.
    Hey, Madame Speaker: If this is such a wonderful idea, why do you have to throw people in jail if they don’t sgn up for it?

  • So, willful failure to pay your taxes could subject you to jail?
    I’ve got news for you.  That’s been the law for a long, long time.
    If the single most objectionable aspect of this bill for you is that you can go to jail for not paying your taxes once it passes, then you really ought to support the bill, because the very worst thing it does is maintain existing tax law.

    • Looks like the point has sailed completely over your head, twc.  The fact that you can be assessed extra taxes for choosing not to purchase insurance (let’s stop for a moment and contemplate why income taxes and health insurance have anything to do with one another), coupled with the fact that you can then be sent to jail for it, is one of the many things in this bill that are objectionable.

  • I like how they attach it to your income tax “liability” to avoid that messy and cumbersome “due process” nonsense.  They should do everything that way to cut costs:  speeding tickets, misdemeanors, felonies, etc.  Who needs trials and appeals?  Just tax them more!  Added bonus: furthers the cause of “social justice” by not penalizing the half of the nation which pays no income taxes — it’ll be like reparations.  I’m sure BHO would approve.