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On April 15, 2015, Tax Day becomes Mandate Day. For the first time ever in American history, ObamaCare will begin to fine people for living without government approved health insurance.
That’s because ObamaCare created an “individual mandate”, which declared that people will be forced to pay a penalty if they don’t enroll in a health insurance program approved by Uncle Sam. Many Americans were covered under such plans in 2014, but millions were not. One official estimate projects that up to 6 million Americans will be penalized by the individual mandate this tax season.
Since the inception of ObamaCare, the individual mandate has been a thoroughly unpopular feature. It’s hard to forget the day in 2012 when a 5-4 decision in the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of the individual mandate on the basis that it was a tax, even though the Obama administration incessantly rejected the notion that ObamaCare would raise taxes on the middle class.
If we do indeed take the individual mandate to be a tax, then ObamaCare ironically will raise taxes on the exact people it is supposed to protect. For example, the number one reason why the remaining uninsured did not purchase health insurance in 2014 was because they simply could not afford it – even after ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies. Low-income people are the group being hit hardest by the individual mandate.
A common misconception suggests that the mandate penalty is a trivial sum of $95. In truth, the penalties will be much higher this year, and especially in future years. For example, families being hit this year will owe the greater amount of $95 per uninsured adult (and $47.50 per child) or 1 percent of household income. The penalty increases each year, so that by 2016 the penalty will soar to $695 per adult (and $347.50 per child) or 2.5 percent of household income.
For this reason, the administration seems to be attempting to camouflage the harmful nature of the mandate by changing its name. “Mandate penalty” sounds too aggressive, and a “tax” undermines the President’s image as a “warrior for the middle class.” So now, the proper way to refer to the penalty is the “Individual Shared Responsibility Payment.” Orwell would be so proud.
Applying a cushy definition to an oppressive law cannot change the fact that, for millions of Americans, this Tax Day is going to be even more unpleasant than usual. And as long as ObamaCare remains as the law of the land, every Tax Day will be a Mandate Day.