As many as 6 million people could be liable for the Obamacare penalty this year. That’s the fee under the Affordable Care Act for failing to obtain a government-approved health insurance plan. But far fewer than 6 million people will actually pay the penalty – or as the IRS calls it, the “shared responsibility payment.”
The IRS lacks the personnel resources to collect the “shared responsibility payment” from everyone. It also lacks the legal authority to do so.
The IRS admits this on an obscure web page, “Questions and Answers on the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision.” According to the tax collecting agency, “The law prohibits the IRS from using liens or levies to collect any individual shared responsibility payment. However, if you owe a shared responsibility payment, the IRS may offset that liability against any tax refund that may be due to you.”
So the IRS can subtract your Obamacare penalty from any tax refund that may be due. But it can’t dip into your bank account or lay claim to any of your assets in order to collect it.
Civil disobedience may be the only way left to get rid of Obamacare. The Supreme Court failed to strike it down, and Congress has so far failed to defund it.
Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think they can placate conservatives by holding symbolic votes against Obamacare that they know won’t change anything. But when it comes to actually depriving the program of funding, members of Congress who try to go that route are threatened with punishment by GOP leaders.
Forget the political process. If We the People render Obamacare unworkable by opting out of it en masse, then it will collapse under its own weight.