Editorials

Face the facts | Health care mandate

Editor’s note: Face the Facts USA is a nonpartisan initiative of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. We will be sharing its daily facts, designed to debunk myths and hold better conversations, on these pages for the near future. We want to know what you think of the feature. Let us know at opinions@thesunnews.com.

FACT: Penalties for failing to purchase health insurance under the new Affordable Health Care Act start in 2014. The fines start as low as $95 per year for an individual, or 1 percent of a person’s income. By 2016 the individual penalty will rise to $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher, unless the individual meets a poverty test or is on Medicaid. This is the “individual mandate” upheld in 2012 by the Supreme Court as a tax, meaning the IRS will collect any penalties. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 5.9 million Americans – 1.9 percent of the population – would face the penalty unless they obtain health insurance. CBO expects the penalty to raise $7 billion to $8 billion.

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