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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Is the individual mandate a dead letter law?

Bob Laszewski seems to think so:

Will the 2014 mandate to buy health insurance be enforced come tax time?

It sure doesn't look like it.

To be sure, the administration is not making any major announcements prior to the close of open enrollment on March 31 the better to get as many people to sign-up as possible. ...

A Treasury Department spokesperson (the IRS is charged with enforcing the mandate) said, "the rules are clear and taxpayers should be able to determine whether they had coverage for 2014, or if not, whether they owe a fee." But the spokesperson then pointed out the fee will be imposed only on those who don't have a valid exemption.

What's a valid exemption?

The administration just published a list of 14 valid exemptions with the first 13 including such things as having suffered from a flood or other disasters, the death of a close family member, and not finding an affordable alternative for a cancelled policy.

Then there is the 14th exemption: "Another hardship in obtaining health insurance." That is all number 14 says. ...

Here is what President Obama said last week when he was asked about the individual mandate in an interview with WebMD.com, "What I think is important for people to understand is that if, in fact, they still can't afford it, there is a hardship exemption in the law. That means they may not be subject to a penalty. The penalty really applies to folks who clearly can afford health insurance but are choosing not to get it." ...

There will be an election in November. Does this administration intend to go into that election getting ready to fine 75% of those who were eligible for a subsidy––about 13 million people––and didn't sign-up?

I will suggest that would create a political hardship for the Obama administration.

Will the Obama administration delay the individual mandate? I don't think they will.

Have they found a way not to enforce it? Looks that way to me.

Yep. The law has all the strength of tissue paper these days. And Laszewski is correct: There's no way Obama's going to enforce the mandate in an election year.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

More differential application. The people who will use the exemptions will be the kind who know how to write short essays justifying anything. People like me who've written grant proposals, or people who've written business plans. Those who really need the exemptions, who are poor enough to be working too hard to have time for this nonsense, will suddenly get dunning letters from the IRS.

The more the anger builds, the more the boosters will trot out the one person in East Jeebus Nowhere who had a pre-existing condition and was helped.

And they should be helped. I'm glad they were helped. Everybody should be helped. All we need to do is get rid of the insurance tapeworm. Medicare for all. The only thing we can do is keep reminding everyone so that when the anger hits, they may have a good idea what to do with it.

What a mess.

Submitted by lambert on

That's a keeper. Exactly what's going on. In fact, the creation of artificial differences to charge rents on them, like a cracking tower.