Sunday, November 15, 2009

H.R. 3962 - Refuse to Buy Insurance, You Might Go To Jail

The recently passed health care reform bill, H.R. 3962, requires everyone to enroll in a "qualified" plan. The mechanism to enforce this provision is a tax penalty, which is defined in Section 501 of the bill:

(a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of--
      `(1) the taxpayer's modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
      `(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.
    There are no direct criminal penalties contained in H.R. 3962, but the effect of imposing a new tax brings both criminal and civil penalties into play via the Internal Revenue Code, also known as Title 26 of the United States Code. These criminal and civil penalties, and how they might affect an individual are explained in this posting of the Ways & Means Republicans website, and in this letter from Joint Committee on Taxation provided to the Ways and Means Committee.

    The sections cited in these letters are sections of Title 26, the Internal Revenue Code, and they may be verified at this website of the Cornell University Law School.

    So, the jail time may be applied if a person refuses to buy insurance, making themselves subject to the tax, and then refuses to pay the tax. In every case, passage of H.R. 3962 increases costs for every American by at least 2.5 percent of their taxable income, and perhaps by as much as five years of their life.

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