Published for www.keithhennessey.com, June 28th, 2012
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, who will pay the tax for not having health insurance?
CBO answered this in April 2010. They projected that in 2016, when the mandate is in effect and the tax is fully phased in, there will still be 21 million uninsured people. This belies the advertised “universal coverage” label.
Oversimplifying a bit, for most people the tax in 2016 will be $750 per adult and $375 per kid.
But while 21 million people will be uninsured, CBO said “the majority of them will not be subject to penalty.” That’s an understatement.
You won’t have to pay the tax if:
- you’re not in the U.S. legally;
- you’re in prison;
- you’re poor (measured two different ways);
- you’re a member of an Indian tribe;
- you’re in a period of being uninsured that’s less than three months long;
- your religion forbids getting health insurance; or
- you get a waiver from HHS.
Given HHS’ behavior in handing out waivers since the law was enacted, this waiver authority bears further observation and scrutiny.