February 20, 2014. Nobody will go to prison for not participating in Obamacare…and if you like your health insurance you can keep it. I’ll close Guantanamo Bay. I’ll stop putting wounded war vets in prison. I’ll cut the deficit. This’ll be the most transparent administration in history. All of those were promises of President Obama. And all of them turned out to be lies, including the notion that nobody will go to prison for not paying their Obamacare tax.
The US Supreme Court ruled Obamacare is a tax. And the deadline for registering for that tax is the end of next month. The deadline for filing and paying it is April of next year. Image courtesy of The Looking Spoon.
When President Obama promised that nobody would ever go to prison for not being able to afford their new mandatory Obamacare insurance premiums, he could cleverly argue that technically, it’s true. What Americans are set to go to jail for by the millions is non-payment of the Obamacare tax. Remember, Obamacare is a tax and failure to pay taxes is a criminal offense punishable by jail time. There are over 150 million Americans who don’t pay income taxes right now. And 10 million who purposely refuse to file a tax return each year. Since that’s how the Obamacare tax is collected, if they don’t start filing next year, they will go to jail according to the IRS - all 10 million to 150 million of them.
The Individual Mandate
Surely, if readers have been paying attention to the Obamacare debate over the past couple years, they’ve heard the term ‘individual mandate’. Amazingly, considering it’s obvious wording, most Americans aren’t aware that Obamacare’s ‘individual mandate’ is the part of the President’s national health system that requires every single American to buy Wall Street provided health insurance whether they can afford it or not.
If they don’t, the penalty is fees, followed by fines, followed by prison. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is telling you that the IRS doesn’t put people in jail for failure to pay taxes. But by all means, feel free to believe the Democratic Party spin doctors and the master himself. You’re the one that’s going to have your children ripped away from you and find yourself sitting in a federal prison cell for the next 6-18 months, not them.
To remind readers, Obamacare is a national law that forces all Americans to be customers of a for-profit corporation to buy a product one-third of all Americans can’t afford, don’t want or don’t need. It was the Republicans that argued repeatedly that it was un-American and un-Constitutional to force people to be a corporation’s customer, on the national level anyway. They support forcing the same people to be customers of the same for-profit corporations for the same reason, as long as it’s a state law mandating it and not Uncle Sam.
Outdoing even that double-speak is the fact that it is President Obama and the Democrats that embraced the Wall Street designed and Republican endorsed ‘Romneycare’ and it’s gift to the world’s millionaires and billionaires. By forcing all Americans, even the poor, to give up a large percentage of their desperately needed money to multi-national corporations, for which they will get nothing in return, the transfer of wealth from the working poor to the rich will only accelerate. Way to go Democrats.
Obamacare Penalties - by the numbers
With President Obama arbitrarily changing the Affordable Care Act with every whim, and the complicated graduated tax/premium rates, the built-in yearly tax increase, the rebates and coupons touted by proponents, and the news media’s overall refusal to educate the American people about what the ACA really is, it’s difficult to tell anyone how much their individual Obamacare tax amount will be this year.
Thanks to a detailed summary by The Fiscal Times last week, below are the Obamacare penalties that any American who doesn’t have government or Wall Street provided health insurance by the end of next month will be forced to pay by April of next year. Designed to ease America into the program without too much resistance and outrage, the fine/penalty for not buying health insurance in 2014 goes up every year after that.
The ACA law has two types of penalty taxes - a flat fee for poor people and a percentage-derived amount for everyone else:
*Amounts reflect total fine/tax for the entire year
For 2017 and beyond, the flat tax and percentage rate will increase based on the rate of inflation. Again, the above amounts are only for those Americans, young or old, that don’t qualify for Medicaid or purchase a private health insurance plan by March 31, 2014. According to Census Bureau data from 2012, there are 48 million of us who don’t currently have any health insurance. Government estimates expect 6 million of those to enroll in Obamacare. That leaves 42 million Americans who will be forced to either go out and buy health insurance or pay the Obamacare tax/fine, or as ruled by the US Supreme Court, go to jail for tax evasion.
Exemptions and rosy outlooks
Congress did build into the Affordable Care Act a few exemptions from the national healthcare law. Members of federally recognized Indian Tribes don’t have to participate. People in jail are also exempt because they automatically receive institutional healthcare. And for the poorest of the poor, if the Obamacare tax is more than 8% of your annual income, you’re also exempt.
According to a forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, thanks to the large number of Americans living in extreme poverty and the various other exemptions, only 6 million people will be required to pay the ACA tax in the first year. To find out if you’re one of those people and how much your tax will be, you’ll have to wait until you file your income taxes next April. The fine will be automatically added into your return, altering the amount you owe. Or more likely, if you’re one of the 75% of Americans who receives a tax return, the Obamacare tax will simply be deducted from that amount.
Just as the administration repeatedly promised that Americans could keep their health insurance even after it was obviously not true, many argue that the promise not to put people in prison for failure to pay their Obamacare tax is just as insincere, and untrue. Not a single regular American has gone through the motions of Obamacare yet, so it’s difficult to say for sure. But with the ACA tax just another line on every American’s yearly tax return, it’s impossible for the IRS to differentiate between those who failed to pay their Obamacare tax and those who failed to pay their income taxes. To the IRS, it’s all the same tax.
And if you think you won’t go to jail for not paying it, just ask Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson, Chuck Berry, Darryl Strawberry, Spiro Agnew, Richard Pryor, Al Capone, Boris Becker, Heidi Fleiss, Sophia Loren, Lauryn Hill, Ja Rule, and millions of other regular Americans who thought they’d never end up in jail for failing to pay their taxes, until they found themselves behind bars. And if the IRS put the above celebrities in prison for the same exact crime, do you really believe they won’t do the same to you or me? One thing’s for sure - millions of Americans will find out next April. By then, it’ll be too late. Remember, the deadline to have health insurance is the end of next month.
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