Remember we had to pass it to find out what’s in it? As the cold realities of Obamacare kick in, Senate Democrats want the Administration to drop the fines for non-compliance and extend the period of sign-up. They now get what we warned about all along. It’s a tax no one wanted. And it’s a vote loser.
The deadline for signing up for Obamacare has passed, and now 3 to 6 million uninsured will have to pay penalties under the law’s individual mandate, Administration officials say.
Each person will have to pay the greater of either $325 or 2 percent of income. That could mean as much as $2 billion of fines doled out by the government, in addition to any fines from the 2014 tax year, Congressional Democrats complain.
“While many of the uninsured will receive exemptions from the fee, it will apply to an estimated 2 to 4 percent of taxpayers. After paying the fee, these individuals may seek to purchase [a plan] and avoid a similar fee for 2015, only to discover that the open enrollment window closed on February 15,” Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and a group of Democrat senators wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell.
So, Congressional Democrats want Obama to grant a reprieve of the individual mandate to extend the sign-up period.
“[W]e encourage the Administration to create a special enrollment period to allow these uninsured individuals who did not purchase affordable coverage in 2014, and were thus subject to the individual responsibility penalty, another chance to purchase coverage for 2015,” the senators implore.
Whether or not the law provides for such a reprieve — the Administration has granted similar amnesties for the employer mandate and other penalties required by the law — the mistake of punishing Americans for not buying health insurance is becoming apparent even to Democrats who pushed for the law’s passage.
It’s the tax that nobody wanted.
And even if the law meets its lofty enrollment goals — over the years, there will always millions more without insurance unable to escape the law’s penalties.
If Senate Democrats really wanted a reprieve from the law, they would push for a repeal of it.
Which is why Congressional Republicans should be forcing votes specifically and individually, on eliminating the individual mandate penalties, for 2015, and for every year after that.
If the mandate to purchase health insurance is gone, the key mechanism that the law depends on will be gutted.
When Democrats vote no, their duplicity will be exposed. After all, their intent is not to relieve Americans of the penalties, but to mold the decisions we make for our families. It’s to control us all.
Just as the Obama Administration believes it can grant reprieves under the law — so too can Congress. And it is time for members, particularly on the Democrat side of the aisle, to take responsibility for the law — and not depend on executive decrees to bail them out from its ill effects.
Of course, here at Independent Living we’re all about medical self-reliance. And this debacle just goes to show how right we are never to trust the government to fix something that’s best left to individuals.