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AP: Nearly 4 Million to be Subject to Health Mandate Penalty by 2016

Feel the pinch.

3:16 PM, Apr 22, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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The CBO released an analysis today that estimates 3.9 million Americans, many of them middle class, will be subject to the penalty payment required of those without government-approved insurance by 2016.

Obama famously promised on the campaign trail not to raise any taxes on anyone making under $250,000. To be fair, maybe he's assuming he's not subject to that promise as long as enacts tax hikes that will go into effect on someone else's watch, but somehow methinks the American people will not find that in keeping with the spirit of his campaign. Maybe that's why Obama's been changing the terms of his famous promise recently.

The penalties will average a little more than $1,000 apiece in 2016, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report.

Most of the people paying the fine will be middle class. Obama pledged in 2008 not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000.

The health-care overhaul is expected to leave 21 million uninsured by 2016, but most of them will be exempt from fees due to income levels or religious exemptions. This is what those who aren't exempt look like:

About 3 million of those required to pay fines in 2016 will have incomes below $59,000 for individuals and $120,000 for families of four, according to the CBO projections. The other 900,000 people who must pay the fine will have higher incomes.

In other health-care boondoggle news, after creating new mandates for health insurance companies that will necessarily cause insurance rates to go up, Congress now wants to interfere further by preventing the very increases it helped create:

Democrats are worried that before all of the new changes go into affect in 2014, that insurers will jack up rates in the meantime. Their answer is a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to reject rate increases deemed unacceptable. It's similar to the idea President Obama presented in his final proposal, but that one had to be dropped because it couldn't be passed through reconciliation.

Of course, the entire reason the mandates and insurance rate hikes go into effect before benefits is because Democrats were unwilling to frontload the benefits of their grand experiment, as it would have created a much more honest and bigger CBO score for 10 years of benefits instead of just six. Their gaming of the CBO will cause rates to rise without any subsidies to soften the blow, and now they want to artificially hold prices down so no one's the wiser about the effects of their meddling.

But of course, the answer to problems caused by government intervention is always...more government intervention as we head inexorably toward a system Congress messes up so badly that it simply must just take the entire thing over:

 

So, to sum up, with one hand, Democrats want to regulate insurers like public utilities, which don't have actual competition. And then, with the other hand, they want to use that lack of competition as a justification to create an entirely government-run insurer.

Also, the term "Obamacare" is offensive now, according to Jon Stewart, who apparently disapproves of the idea of naming things after our first black president. Racist.

 

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