August 19 2009
IWF in the News: Tax Penalties Await for People with No Health Insurance
Carrie L. Lukas
If the current health bill becomes law, Americans will have no choice but to be insured.Stealing a chapter from the Massachusetts healthcare play book, the Obama administration will mandate healthcare for all Americans. According to HR 3200, Title IV, Subtitle A - Shared Responsibility, Section 59 B on page 167, individuals who do not purchase the health insurance or fail to meet the government required minimum coverage in their plan will be subject to a 2.5 percent tax on their adjusted gross income. But said tax shall not exceed the "applicable national average premium for such taxable year."
Carrie Lukas is a policy expert with the Independent Women's Forum. She says this is going to have the greatest effect on individuals who currently choose not to buy health insurance due to the cost or because they just do not want coverage.
"At the end of the day, this is whether or not you believe in the right of individuals to make decisions on their own behalf. I might try to convince a 25-year-old boy that in spite of the fact that it doesn't look like he's going to need insurance, that he should get it anyway just in case. But if he doesn't want to, I think that's his absolute right...to decide to forego health insurance," she contends. "It's not the job of the government to force that on him. And that's really what the 2.5 percent tax is about -- it's trying to create an individual mandate through tax penalty."
In reading the healthcare bill, it appears that the 2.5 percent tax penalty applies to individuals at any income level.