Friday, April 2, 2010

There Is NO Mandate!!!

This is huge.

One of the big complaint about the new healthcare reform bill is the mandate to buy health insurance. In fact, the republicans are running around decrying the massive increase in the IRS due to the additional enforcement required by this bill. There is only one problem. There is no enforcement provision in the bill.

Let me repeat that.


That means, in reality, there is NO MANDATE.

Here is what the bill actually says:

"In the case of any failure by a tax payer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section such tax payer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure."

In other words, the penalty for failing to pay the tax if you fail to have health insurance is NOTHING.

Yes, the bill imposes a tax on you if you don't have health insurance, BUT if you don't pay the tax there is no consequence. Therefore, nothing will happen if you do not get health insurance and you do not pay the tax for not having it.

NOTHING! It is the law!

Here is Lawrence O'Donnell explaining it.

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  1. Thanks for posting this Jerry. I wish truths that get overlooked or ignored could reach the masses. I guess it's up to us to do the job!

  2. I agreed Sue, except those who need the info the most aren't hearing it. But, I suppose it's still worth a try.

  3. Actually, there *is* a mandatory penalty if you don't buy insurance, but it's enforced by natural law, not cop law -- i.e., you don't have insurance. What the authors of the bill are hoping is that most Americans will do the responsible thing and take advantage of the subsidies offered by this bill in order to buy insurance. Personally, I think they're underestimating the contraryness of Boobus Americanus, the kind of person who, passing through New Mexico and seeing the speed limit signs that say "75 mph", speeds up to 80mph just on general principle because obeying laws is for liberals...

    - Badtux the Contrary Penguin

  4. LOL!!! Boobus Americanus! I love it.

  5. Sorry, I cannot claim credit for one of H.L. Mencken's favorite terms, "Boobus Americanus". I forget which of his essays used it to such great effect or I'd point you there, but all of them are worthy of the read, even if you do not agree with them. The man knew how to sharpen a rhetorical knife and stick it into an unwitting target, yessiree...

    - Badtux the Well-read Penguin

  6. Right Jerry. There is no "Mandate" for the IRS fines and penalties for not paying your taxes either. You realize you don't necessarily go to jail for not paying your taxes? Right? You go to jail for fraud or evasion. Possibly failure to report. What the "Mandate" allows them to do is "Interest You" and "Penalize" you into financial oblivion. It's simply a Trojan Horse for the IRS in the form of "Government" to ride into every aspect of your life!!

    So that makes this a pretty ignorant endeavor. Let's assume people don't purchase the Insurance because they can't afford it. So, as usual, the Government rides in and makes the situation even WORSE for you by penalizing and "Interesting" you into bankruptcy!

    I find it very difficult to understand the complete lack of Common Sense you guys exhibit.

  7. Uhm, Hank, what part of "prohibits *any* criminal penalties for failure to pay the fine" is too difficult for you to understand?

    It's not a "complete lack of common sense" that is our problem. It's a complete lack of paranoid delusional thinking that is our problem. Unlike you, we don't wear tin hats to keep government mind control waves out of our brains. Not only us, but some law types too as well as that dude in the video who *actually wrote the damned clause*, have taken a look at this clause and noted that it forbids the IRS from doing its usual tax liens / seizures / criminal penalties/etc. if you fail to pay the fine. If you report that you bought insurance and you in fact didn't you can go to jail for lying to the IRS, but that's a different story altogether, and as Martha Stewart proves, lying to the Feds is *always* a bad idea.

    In short: You won't get a tax refund if you fail to purchase insurance. But you won't go to jail either -- unless, of course, you lie to the IRS about it, which is a different crime.

    - Badtux the Law Penguin

  8. Another thing. Piperni has me banned from commenting on his Garbage Dump of a blog. But I noticed your comment there and I just wanted to note.

    The "Straw Man", the "Shame" if you will, is the argument you people put forth that because we don't approve of this fatally flawed effort to address the ills of Health Care in this country, that we are not concerned at all. That we do not "Care". That is an intellectually bankrupt assumption and the only place it will "fly" unchallenged is on censored dumps like Piperni's.

    The majority of Americans are against "Obamacare" in it's current form. We followed the Democratic process. We lodged our complaints with our representatives in the forums and venues made available to us and what did they do? They ignored our voices and crammed it down our throats anyway. If it was such a great idea Jerry, why was it such a difficult sell? Even to their own party? Why was the ONLY bipartisan effort a bipartisan effort to defeat it??

    No Jerry. I'll tell you what I fear this is. It is such a colossally flawed effort that I feel it has little chance of "succeeding" in that it will do little to alleviate the real difficulties we have with the Health Care System. Somewhere down the line, it will have made such a mess and will have become such a financial monster, the Government will come riding in on the "White Horse" of a Single Payer, wholly Government Controlled System to save us.

    When that happens, where do we turn? For that matter, where do the idiots like Piperni, who is Canadian, turn when their Health Care System fails them as it does routinely. Google any Canadian Newspaper (you could start with the Montreal Gazette) to read of the failings, shortcomings and horrors of their "Single Payer" system.

    No Jerry. This will end up taking my choices away from me. It will end up taking your choices away as well. It will end up limiting EVERYONE'S choices, including dirt bags like Piperni, who won't be able to run scurrying here like some insignificant little pest to beg for the best Health Care in the World. It will end up costing every one of us, our children, our grand children and our great grand children more and more and more and.....

    And with the financial difficulties we are already experiencing, regardless WHOSE fault they may be, it could signal the beginning of the end of the America we know, love and have grown up in.

    Biden was absolutely correct. This IS a BIG F--king deal!!

  9. Dude, you come off sounding like a paranoid asshole, spewing a buncha bullshit that you heard on Faux News and Rush Limpdick that has no -- ZERO -- basis in fact. You're full of shit, and if you expect us to say anything other than you're so fucking full of shit that your goddamned eyeballs are floating in shit, you're in the wrong goddamned place.

    Look, I ain't no fan of the Obamacare thingy. It's a mediocre health plan that isn't going to work in its current form and is going to require a lot of further follow-on laws to make it work. But when you just MAKE SHIT UP -- or repeat lies that OTHER people just made up -- well. I don't like liars, and I think people who repeat other people's lies are full of shit.

    So feel free to spew as much paranoid bullshit as you want. I'll just call it like it is -- you're so fucking full of shit that you can use your mouth as an asshole. That's just how full of shit you are, spewing lies and nonsense the way a drunk spews puke in the toilet. Sheesh!

    - Badtux the Rude Penguin

  10. Bad Tux - Are you reading challenged also??

    I'll play to your lack of comprehension this time as I'm really a pretty decent guy. Next time, please read closer.

    I agreed there are no "Criminal Penalties" just as there are no "Criminal Penalties" for failure to pay or inability to pay taxes. The "Criminal Penalties" are for Evasion and Fraud. (Hmmm...I didn't think of that but if you "lie" or otherwise are "evasive" in an attempt to evade the "penalty" for not purchasing Health Care Coverage, I wonder if the same type of Criminal Penalties would apply that apply to evading taxes?? There's one we could all think about!)

    Anyway, the difficulties, which most of us should understand, are the oppressive penalty and interest charges they assess. And their hyper aggressive effort to collect.

    (Did you note the "new" IRS Squad announced today to aggressively pursue the "rich" to make sure they are paying all they should? Or nowadays....CAN??)

  11. Uhm, dude. Go read it again. It prohibits the *interest charges* on the health care fine also.

    And if you think lying to the Feds is a good idea, your ass deserves to be spending time in Club Fed because you're stupider than a rock. Martha Stewart already proved clear enough that lying to the Feds pisses them off big time, remember, she went to jail for lying to the Feds, not for securities fraud or any shit like that. What, you were in a fucking cave or something when Martha got sent to Club Fed?!

    - Badtux the

  12. Bad Tux - If you can't express yourself without using trailer park trash, barroom language, don't expect responses from me.

    Your comment is full of little more than liberal talking points and excuses you guys use because you aren't intelligent enough to respond substantively.

    If you want to debate me, you need to be reasonably articulate. Refrain from barroom profanity and try to come up with something better than tired old liberal talking points.

    Address the points I make. Address the thoughts I have, whether you agree with them or not. If all you want to do is call people names and regurgitate worn out liberal talking points in a secure environment where people aren't allowed to challenge you, please visit

  13. Bad Tux - Sorry. You're on Official Ignore. I find people that can't express themselves without using crass language and pointless profanity very low class and not worth my effort.

    Have a good time resting up in your trailer before heading out for a night of swilling cheap beer. Try not to beat the wife and kids TOO bad before heading out.

  14. Hank,
    The reason most people were against the existing bill is because it did not go far enough. They wanted a strong public option and/or a single payer system. The bill was too weak, not too strong. A stronger bill would have gained more support.

    Not getting health care insurance and not lying to the IRS about it is neither evasion or fraud, hence no penalty.

  15. Oh wow, Hank, I'm so shocked that you turn out to be an elitist who hates those of us who grew up in trailer parks. Sorry your feelings were hurt, maybe mommy will kiss your boo-boo and make it all better then make up a nice quiche to help you get over it, before you go to your day job making milquetoast. Have a nice day!

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  16. Jerry - From a source most of you will embrace. Sounds like a penalty to me. I would further question what type of creative charges they will ultimately add on. After all guys. This is the IRS you are INVITING into the most personal aspects of your affairs.

    "Although most Americans who do not obtain health insurance would face a federal penalty starting in 2014, many experts question how strict the enforcement of that penalty would actually be.

    The first year, consumers who did not have insurance would owe $95, or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. But the penalty would subsequently rise, reaching $695, or 2 percent of income."

  17. Bad Tux - I'm not surprised to find out you equate "manliness" with an excessively foul mouth.

    I've just always felt that it takes the same amount of effort to "type" a less offensive word as it does to type crude profanities.

    I don't have to use profanity to make my point. It is regrettable if you feel you do. I guess that's what people like you resort to when they can't intelligently address the subject.

  18. But there is no penalty for not paying it.

  19. Jerry - Come on!! The article says very plainly, "...Americans who do not obtain health insurance would face a federal penalty starting in 2014." and then, "But the penalty would subsequently rise..."

    Who is wrong? Me, you or the NYT?

  20. Jerry - Unless (after further thought) you are trying to say there is no "penalty" on the "penalty".

    If so, two things. First, never again accuse Republicans or Conservatives of trying to confuse the issues!! :-)

    Second, I don't think they know exactly what they are going to do just yet. I don't think any of us do. But it doesn't make a lot of sense to have a "penalty" with no consequence.

    My guess is once they get all off into it, they will come up with a bevy of creative means to take as much as they can from as many as possible. Common sense should dictate that at the rate Government and Entitlements are expanding, they are going to have to get their hands on every penny they can, any way they can, and from any source.

    (At 1:59. IRS Duck!!)

  21. Oops. Forgot the link.

  22. Yes, it's sorta like the Dutch policy toward marijuana. Marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands. But there's the cops are prohibited by law from citing or arresting you for possession or smoking or selling marijuana. So there are cafe's in Amsterdam all over the place where you just walk in and choose your preferred bud and they hand you a bong to partake of it.

    Clearly the Democratic congressmen who wrote this thing intend the carrots to be the main enforcement mechanism -- i.e., you buy health insurance because you get a subsidy to buy health insurance and having health insurance is a good thing to have, not because you're gonna get arrested for not buying health insurance. Personally, I think they been spendin' too much time in the Netherlands partaking of the bud ;). My guess is that there is going to be *serious* noncompliance, and the whole thing is going to fall apart just like in Britain in 1948, which had a similar scheme that dated back to before WW1. And we all know what happened after that in Britain in 1948. Frankly, I'm not interested in the sort of grey dreary Stalinistic system that the Brits installed when they created their Public Health System from the crumbled remnants of their insurance and hospital industries, it's effective (the mortality rate from prostate cancer in Britain is identical to that of white males here in the United States, same deal with mortality rates for most other illnesses) and it's cheap, 1/3rd the cost of the U.S. system, but at the cost of being inconvenient, crowded, and, well, dreary.

    Which is why I think we should have just gone straight to Medicare For All in the first place -- my Mom is on Medicare, as was my grandmother before her, and Medicare has never -- ever -- interfered with the care her doctor has given her. Same deal with my grandmother. They needed to see a doctor, they see a doctor. Wish I could say the same about my private insurer. My boss needed an MRI to properly diagnose his back injury and it took them FOUR MONTHS before they'd approve it, despite the fact that he was in excruciating pain for all of those four months... my mom on Medicare needs an MRI, she just gets one, and Medicare+Tricare (military retiree) pays for it.

    As for all the nonsense about government noses and such, sometimes bullshit can't be called anything else. Fuck yeah you can spend a jillion words showing it's bullshit, but crap, we already did that, all that happens is the tighty righties just invent new lies to debunk. Medicare has been around since 1965. All the horrible things predicted for Medicare never happened -- there are no death panels, elders aren't dying all over for lack of health care, bureaucrats aren't telling doctors how to take care of their patients yada yada. It's been 45 years and none of the evil things tighty righties predicted happened. Why should we think tighty righties are any less wrong now?

    - Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

  23. Tux - I do find your evolving (revolving?) penguin characteristics humorous.

    Medicare is on the brink of bankruptcy and extinction. Now, they are speaking of reducing payments to Doctors. Of course, there was the "Doctor Fix" they hid in some other legislation to trick us into thinking it would cost less...but I digress.

    Will Medicare remain solvent? Will physicians still participate at the same level? Many think they will not. Many physicians have openly stated they will either cut back on seeing medicare patients or begin to turn them down altogether.

    I still say there had to be a better way. I say there IS a better way.

    And I maintain it is specious for you guys to say just because we don't grovel acceptance for "Obamacare" that we do not recognize and desire to see improvements made to the US Health Care System.

  24. The imminent bankruptcy of Medicare and the refusal of doctors to participate in Medicare has been predicted for each of the past 45 years. Why should I presume that you're any more accurate now than you were for each of the previous 45 years?

    - Badtux the History Penguin

  25. Tux - I guess I'll be the "Doubting" Hank for this one!

    First, I'm just going by what I read and hear. They are not "my" estimations or predictions. Even Obama has said Medicare would be Bankrupt in the future. And I have personally read of Doctors reporting they will scale back seeing medicare patients with some going so far as to say they will simply quit practice altogether.

    While your question, "Why should I presume that you're any more accurate..." may be fair, it would be equally as fair to question why (I) would NOT be accurate??

    Don't you think?

    (BTW...thanks for limiting the profanity. I do enjoy a spirited exchange. But I don't use profanity in writing. Now if we ever meet face to holds barred!!!!)

  26. Well, Hank, you might NOT be accurate because the "everybody" whose stuff you're repeating have been wrong about, like, pretty much everything for the past forty years? As in, wrong on civil rights, wrong on Medicare being the death penalty for elderly Americans, wrong on Saddam having weapons of mass destruction, wrong on the economy (which has done worse under Republican Presidents), wrong on deregulating banks (though that one was a bipartisan wrong), and so forth?

    I look at track records. If someone has been wrong for pretty much forty years straight, why SHOULD I assume he's right today?

    - Badtux the Tracking Penguin

  27. Dang Tux! Just when I was starting to respect your opinion and commentary, you come out with those tired old, intellectually bankrupt, liberal talking points.

    Come on! You can do better than that. The revolving penguin thing shows you CAN be intelligently creative.

    What makes what "you read and hear" any less accurate than what I read and hear? Or any less "biased"?

  28. I believe nothing that I see or hear until I validate its truthfulness with original sources. I didn't believe that Congress could possibly have written a mandate that the IRS was prohibited from enforcing... until I went and read the actual law, and yeppers, there it is in black and white. Regarding the scare stories about Obamacare, it is virtually identical to the Dutch system. So I checked out how things are working in the Netherlands, which switched from a British-style Public Health Service to an Obamacare-like system in 1995. Things seem to be working better than here -- people are getting the health care they need, at a lower cost. I also looked at Switzerland, where other parts of the Obamacare system were trialed starting in the early 90's (prior to that the Swiss had a pre-Obamacare US-style system). It is working there too -- the Swiss complain it's too expensive, but "too expensive" is 2/3rds the cost of the U.S. system.

    There was also a third place it was tried -- Britain, starting in 1908. Britain switched to socialized medicine in 1948 because the country was in ruins and nobody could afford to buy insurance even with the subsidies, but prior to WW2 it worked reasonably well there too.

    In short, I looked at three past examples of the Obamacare system, and saw that none of the bad things predicted for Obamacare happened there. So why should I believe the U.S. somehow is so different that it won't work here? Well, other than the fact that the system set up by the bill is so crippled by politics that it's going to take a lot of further lawmaking to make it work well, but Medicare had the same sorts of teething problems in its first years, so we're not talking about something impossible to fix...

    - Badtux the Comparative Research Penguin

  29. Tux - You said, "...the bill is so crippled by politics that it's going to take a lot of further lawmaking to make it work well..."

    And there you have it. I think, since it makes no sense to have an unenforceable penalty with no consequence, that eventually some teeth will be put in it with the IRS as the enforcement arm. I am VERY leery of having the IRS entangled with my Health Care on ANY level.

    But this speaks to what I feel will be the ultimate problem with this flawed effort. I see it simply as a Trojan Horse to eventually move us to a Single Payer System. I think it will be such a monstrosity and colossal failure, both fiscally and in practice, that at some point the Government will be "forced" to come riding in on the "White Horse" of a Single Payer System to save us all!

    This bill was not a good effort. Yes, we need reform. Yes. I want to see reform enacted. I adamantly disagree this was the reform America wanted or needed.

    Elections are coming up. We will see soon enough.

  30. Single payer in the Canadian sense is not going to happen. What the insurance system set up by this bill looks more like is your local electric utility company -- a private company, heavily regulated, required to provide service for a given price to its customers. It might as well be single payer by the time the regulations are finished with it, except you pay your health care tax to an insurance company rather than to the government, but it won't be single payer.

    By your logic, your local utility company would be nationalized and turned into a publicly owned utility. That would actually be more efficient -- my city runs its own utility company and our rates are 2/3rds what they are in surrounding areas, yet the utility pays the city more in "in lieu of taxes" payments every year than the surrounding areas get in taxes from the private utility -- but it hasn't happened in most places. Why do you believe it would happen in healthcare when it hasn't happened in electrical power generation and distribution? Other than the fact that you heard it on Faux News or the Rush Limpdick show?

    - Badtux the Utility Penguin

  31. Tux - You keep making my points for me. Your utility company is an apt example.

    I'm 58. Started paying electric bills when I was 22 years old. Electric bills have gone from approximately $20 a month to over $400 a month now.

    My Health Care Coverage now costs me around $400 per month. If I live another 30 years, see what comparative price increases would mean??

    I think in the future the Government will exercise complete control over Health Care in this country. I may not live to see it and that's okay. For me, I will pay for a lesser private policy before I would accept anything from the Government for free.

    I know it's a talking point, but I'm not sure you can argue with the logic.

    I don't want an organization exercising the efficiency of the Postal Service and the compassion of the IRS anywhere NEAR my Health Care decisions.

    But I think we both agree this thing is not done. What we end up with will most likely not resemble too closely what we have now. I guess in the end, none of us have much of a choice but to wait and see what we end up with.

  32. The IRS can and will sieze your property for not paying taxes. They are federal agents and can come to your house armed and they do have the authority to arrest you. That alone is a fine, penalty, what ever you want to call it, you will be penalized for not buying it. I would call that a mandate. If I refuse to pay I am sure the IRS will have no problem arguing that I am commiting tax evasion.

    When asked by a reporter if throwing a person in jail for not paying, Nancy Pelosi said it was fair. If too many people decide not to pay, those fines will go higher and I have no doubt that congress or the President or the Secretary of HHS would provide a penaly including jail time (assuming that it is in fact not there now)

    On another note, I am impressed how you summed up a 2500 plus page bill into one paragraph. You ommited the hundreds of paragraphs that have the statement,... as determiined by the secretay...

    1. Anonymous, read the actual law. Don't believe anything *anybody* tells you, read the actual law. It's there in black and white -- the actual law *specifically* prohibits the IRS from enforcing the no-insurance fee/tax. Don't believe me, go read the actual law.

      And if you can't read, or don't want to read, or don't believe that the law says what it says... well. Boobus Americanus. Just sayin' :(.

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