WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 6 million Americans — most of them in the middle class — will face a tax penalty for not carrying medical coverage once President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law is fully in place, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.
The new estimate amounts to an inconvenient fact for the administration, a reminder of what critics see as broken promises.
The numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office are significantly higher than a previous projection by the same office in 2010, shortly after the law passed.
… And the budget office analysis found that nearly 80 percent of those who’ll face the penalty would be making up to or less than five times the federal poverty level. Currently that would work out to $55,850 or less for an individual and $115,250 or less for a family of four.
Average penalty: about $1,200 in 2016.
When they get dumped onto the individual private insurance market after their employers decide it’s too expensive to provide health care coverage, a lot more people will end up having to pay the penalty because they cannot afford the insurance (families with their own health insurance plans paid $414 per month on average in 2011). In fact, the penalty would be less than the average annual deductible of $2,935 for individuals and $3,879 for families.
Remember, in 2008 candidate Obama campaigned AGAINST the individual mandate, ridiculing it by saying, “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.” And he campaigned FOR the public option, which the ACA does not have (or any other effective cost controls).