IRS Says They Won’t Really Enforce The Obamacare Mandate

Did you maintain appropriate insurance coverage in 2016? Perhaps you switched jobs, and, being that most companies require you be on the job for 90 days before you are allowed to be on their insurance plan, meaning you were probably out of insurance for 91 days, meaning you are ripe to be slapped with a fine/tax/fee by the IRS. Perhaps you lost your job and were out of insurance for over 90 days, and could be hit with the mandate. Not anymore

(Hit and Run) How much difference does a single line on a tax form make? For Obamacare’s individual mandate, the answer might be quite a lot.

Following President Donald Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to provide relief from the health law, the Internal Revenue Service appears to be taking a more lax approach to the coverage requirement. (snip)

The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.

I suspect that as this news starts making its way through to the citizens, many will choose to refuse to check the box even if they did have qualifying health insurance in 2016, much like so many chose “American” on the last census form instead of their race. One question is whether electronic 1040s will allow someone to skip over line 61, as they would usually require all lines to be completed. Perhaps the tax software companies will make changes? Later in the article we see that many are making changes.

The IRS notes that taxpayers are still required to pay the mandate penalty, if applicable. “Legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe‎,” the agency statement said.

Ellis says the new policy doesn’t fully rise to the level of declining to enforce the law. “If the IRS turns a blind eye to people’s status, that isn’t quite not enforcing it,” he says. “It’s more like the IRS wanting to maintain plausible deniability.”

Essentially, monkey don’t see, monkey don’t penalize.

Patterico, posting at Red State, has hesitations about this method, and has some valid points and makes a good case, particularly about weakening the law making it easier for the GOP to not repeal and replace. Perhaps so, but, that’s politics. For many, paying the fine/tax/fee is a bread and butter issue, and they’ll like this.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

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25 Responses to “IRS Says They Won’t Really Enforce The Obamacare Mandate”

  1. Zachriel says:

    IRS Says They Won’t Really Enforce The Obamacare Mandate

    The mandate is essential in order to cover preexisting conditions, which is still required of insurance companies. This will further destabilize the marketplace, and is the point of no return for some sort of fix or replacement.

  2. Jeffery says:

    Senator Rand Paul described this AM that the replacement program WOULD cover pre-existing conditions for two years but would mandate that insureds buy coverage continuously after that to stay protected. Otherwise, he claimed sick people would only buy in when they got sick. Duh.

    A mandate by any other name is … a mandate.

  3. twolaneflash says:

    Trump should turn the IRS loose so America can get a full dose of O’care. Let those special snowflakes in Hillary country have the IRS on them like vultures to collect their O’care taxes, with penalties and interest. Life under the IRS is just a joy; ask any Tea Party member. Like the man said, Americans know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

  4. Zachriel says:

    Jeffery: Senator Rand Paul described this AM that the replacement program WOULD cover pre-existing conditions

    These sorts of plans work well for people with plenty of resources, but not so well for the poor or lower income families. If someone with a preexisting condition loses their job, and with it, their insurance, they would no longer be eligible for coverage. It’s even possible employers won’t want to hire them because it will drive their insurance costs up.

  5. gitarcarver says:

    It’s even possible employers won’t want to hire them because it will drive their insurance costs up.

    What a shock. Zachriel makes a statement that is contrary to the law.

  6. Rev.Hoagie® says:

    Insurance is to cover a loss that has not yet happened. Preexisting conditions are current losses therefore by definition uninsurable. You can’t by home insurance for a house on fire, auto insurance for a wrecked car or life insurance for a dead man. Why would anyone expect an insurance company to buy a claim?

    We deal with other high risks so I’m sure we can figure out a air way to cover these high risk people too. Drivers with frequent accidents or tickets or who have had accidents are covered by a high risk pool that covers catastrophic claims but have high deductibles. Houses built in high risk areas are charged additional premiums and offered federal flood insurance.

    It seems to me that if people on all sides are willing to be reasonable and compromise we should be able to cover preexisting conditions in a similar fashion. BTW, there are different types of preexisting conditions. A person with chronic psoriasis and there is skin cancer. Both preexisting but both with quite different insurance costs.

    We could end up with a hybrid deal where the insurance companies contribute to a pool as well as the government and the insured pays a higher premium or such.

  7. Zachriel says:

    gitarcarver: Zachriel makes a statement that is contrary to the law.

    Perhaps you mean a statement concerning something contrary to law.

    Before ObamaCare, large group plans were not guaranteed issue. Small group plans were guaranteed issue under HIPAA, but pricing wasn’t guaranteed, meaning employers could be forced to drop insurance if they hired a sick person. Discrimination was outlawed by the ADA, but can be difficult to enforce.

  8. gitarcarver says:

    Perhaps you mean a statement concerning something contrary to law.

    No, you made a statement that is contrary to employment law. You posited a position to justify your beliefs where a company would act in an illegal manner in order to make your point.

    Nice try, but as usual, you’re just flat out wrong.

  9. Jeffery says:

    gitar, as always, works to cloud, not clarify, an issue.

  10. gitarcarver says:

    gitar, as always, works to cloud, not clarify, an issue.

    I didn’t realize that saying someone was incorrect and therefore had muddled the situation was “clouding” anything.

    Most people would have thought that correcting Zach would have clarified the issue. I guess you don’t want clarity and would rather have the cloudiness that Zach supplied.

    Why am I not surprised?

  11. Jeffery says:

    Well, Mr. Semantician, the statement was not contrary to the law. One rarely breaks the law making a statement. He corrected you and you should have gone on your way and debated the point not the semantics (where you were incorrect anyway).

    We are on to your distracting, deflecting schoolmarm ways. You goal is to confuse and diffuse, but never to infuse… with knowledge, or at least to suffuse… with knowledge… no not even to defuse. Troll.

  12. gitarcarver says:

    Well, Mr. Semantician, the statement was not contrary to the law.

    Yes it is.

    One rarely breaks the law making a statement.

    Perhaps you and Zach need to understand the language better. The statement was contrary to the law – not making of the statement.

    e corrected you and you should have gone on your way and debated the point not the semantics (where you were incorrect anyway).

    Well, it seems that you are so hung up on the semantics you won’t debate the legally incorrect point Zach tried to make. It is always that way with you. Anytime someone tries to pin down what you say and why it is wrong, you launch into this irrational and distracting attack on what you think is semantics.

    We are on to your distracting, deflecting schoolmarm ways. You goal is to confuse and diffuse, but never to infuse… with knowledge, or at least to suffuse… with knowledge… no not even to defuse.

    There you are, typing out what is a self description.

    • drowningpuppies says:

      There you are, typing out what is a self description.

      Notice the little guy does that often.
      It’s like he can’t help himself.

  13. Zachriel says:

    Rev.Hoagie®: Insurance is to cover a loss that has not yet happened. Preexisting conditions are current losses therefore by definition uninsurable.

    Medicare covers every eligible participant regardless of age of health condition. Perhaps you argument is just semantics. Call it something other than insurance.

    Rev.Hoagie®: We deal with other high risks so I’m sure we can figure out a air way to cover these high risk people too.

    High-risk policies have always been underfunded as the participants represent an unimportant political minority.

    gitarcarver: The statement was contrary to the law

    You mean claim, not statement. The statement is the expression of the claim. Now you might address the point:

    gitarcarver: You posited a position to justify your beliefs where a company would act in an illegal manner in order to make your point.

    The federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, bans discrimination against people with disabilities in hiring, training, promotion, work conditions and termination, but enforcement of the law is not easy because many discriminatory decisions affecting employment of disabled people are hidden from them.”

    Before ObamaCare, large group plans were not guaranteed issue. Small group plans were guaranteed issue under HIPAA, but pricing wasn’t guaranteed, meaning employers could be forced to drop insurance if they hired a sick person. Discrimination was outlawed by the ADA, but can be difficult to enforce.

    • Rev.Hoagie® says:

      Rev.Hoagie®: Insurance is to cover a loss that has not yet happened. Preexisting conditions are current losses therefore by definition uninsurable.

      Medicare covers every eligible participant regardless of age of health condition. Perhaps you argument is just semantics. Call it something other than insurance.

      Okay, I’ll call it a government mandate which is a tax, like the ADA-ask the SC, but since the US government is not an insurance company it’s not insurance. Perhaps your argument is “just semantics” since Medicare, Medicaid and ADA can look like and function as insurance but try and refuse to pay, or for that matter participate. Insurance cannot have guaranteed universal coverage for preexisting conditions because people won’t buy it till they need it. Kinda like any other product or service known to man.

      Rev.Hoagie®: We deal with other high risks so I’m sure we can figure out a air way to cover these high risk people too.

      High-risk policies have always been underfunded as the participants represent an unimportant political minority.

      So are you saying we can’t find a way to fund it, don’t want to try or what? And they’ve “always been underfunded”? There aren’t any that are funded adequately? And if they are underfunded whose fault is that? Why can’t it be corrected. Gee, when I was in business and my advertising budget was “underfunded” I took money from something else and presto! it wasn’t any more. And when you say underfunded do you mean not enough money to cover the claims or not enough money to cover the waste, fraud, abuse and union employee salaries and benefits because all of that can be fixed.

      BTW, if high risk participants “represent an unimportant political minority” then why is everybody in a kerfuffle about them? Why are the insurance unenlightened so eager to compromise the integrity of a stable premium base by including AIDS patients, as an example?

  14. Zachriel says:

    Rev.Hoagie®: Insurance cannot have guaranteed universal coverage for preexisting conditions because people won’t buy it till they need it.

    It can as long as everyone is mandated to participate.

    Rev.Hoagie®: So are you saying we can’t find a way to fund it, don’t want to try or what?

    Tying everyone’s health insurance together helps guarantee political support. This is how Social Security works. It’s not a benefit for the poor, but something that everyone qualifies for, which is why it has been sustained for eight decades, through war and peace, prosperity and hardship. Similarly with Medicare. When you segregate the sick, the politics work to underfund those most in need, especially in periods of hardship.

    Rev.Hoagie®: if high risk participants “represent an unimportant political minority” then why is everybody in a kerfuffle about them?

    Because the previous system was unsustainable. If you accept that society won’t leave poor people on the street to die of treatable conditions, then there has to be a mechanism to cover the costs.

  15. Rev.Hoagie® says:

    If you accept that society won’t leave poor people on the street to die of treatable conditions, then there has to be a mechanism to cover the costs.

    There is and it’s called charity.

    Rev.Hoagie®: Insurance cannot have guaranteed universal coverage for preexisting conditions because people won’t buy it till they need it.

    It can as long as everyone is mandated to participate.

    That’s my point, Zachriel. As a patriotic American I do not want a fascist state mandating what I buy. Some people value “security” over Freedom. I value Freedom over security. Oddly, as usual for the conservative, My freedom costs you nothing. Buy what you want. But your security somehow requires a mandate that I obey your desires. Doesn’t quite seem right to me.

    Rev.Hoagie®: So are you saying we can’t find a way to fund it, don’t want to try or what?

    Tying everyone’s health insurance together helps guarantee political support.* This is how Social Security works. It’s not a benefit for the poor, but something that everyone qualifies for, which is why it has been sustained for eight decades, through war and peace, prosperity and hardship.** Similarly with Medicare. When you segregate the sick, the politics work to underfund those most in need, especially in periods of hardship.

    * IOW, force.
    ** You do realize SS is bankrupt, don’t you? And sooner or later, during war or peace, through prosperity or hardship it will collapse and leave millions in poverty. It is a ponzi scheme and you know full well if you or I developed a plan like that we’d bee in prison. So you’re saying the only thing that you can think of is to FORCE free people to participate in a illegal Ponzi scheme doomed to failure? I know I could come up with a better plan except it would involve that thing you leftists hate most: Freedom of choice.

    Now, back to that thing I mentioned at the beginning: Charity. Charity is how a society takes care of its poor and destitute. Not government force. It is immoral to take a persons property by force and give it to another but perfectly moral for a person to give his own property away. Those of you out there who do not practice charity probably don’t understand the concept. Then again if you believe in unfunded mandates (read legalized theft) you never will.

    I see no use in continuing this discussion. We are hopelessly separated by Ideology. Yours collective on state power, mine individual on personal freedom.

  16. Zachriel says:

    Rev.Hoagie®: it’s called charity.

    That worked when medicine meant a prescription for mint tea and honey. The cost of modern medicine is far beyond the capabilities of private charities.

    Rev.Hoagie®: As a patriotic American I do not want a fascist state mandating what I buy.

    The government mandates all sorts of things through laws. The red light means stop. The green light means go.

    Rev.Hoagie®: You do realize SS is bankrupt, don’t you?

    That is incorrect, of course. You might want to be more precise in your claims.

    Rev.Hoagie®: It is a ponzi scheme

    No. It’s a transfer of income from the young to the old.

    Rev.Hoagie®: It is immoral to take a persons property by force and give it to another

    As governments require taxes, and taxes are taking property by force and giving to another, then you are effectively against government.

  17. Jeffery says:

    Rev typed:

    I see no use in continuing this discussion. We are hopelessly separated by ideology.

    On one side the rational and practical, on the other the conservatives. One side favors freedom abd equal opportunity for all peoples, conservatives favor every person for themselves – the strong and the fortunate dominate the weak and less fortunate. Conservatives recite the conceit that liberals promote government as an end in itself, as a system for control, but that is untrue. But government can be, and is, a means to an end – a mechanism for assuring freedoms and equal opportunity and to prevent the oppression of the weak or less fortunate by others.

    • Rev.Hoagie® says:

      Conservatives recite the conceit that liberals promote government as an end in itself, as a system for control, but that is untrue.* But government can be, and is, a means to an end – **a mechanism for assuring freedoms and equal opportunity and to prevent the oppression of the weak or less fortunate by others.***

      * Government by definition IS control, force, coercion. That’s why the Founding Fathers believed the government that governs least governs best. That’s why there is a 10th Amendment. And that’s why you have zero concept of American history of personal freedom.

      ** Government most assuredly is a means to an end and that end is control over others. Isn’t that what you want Jeffery, to control us? To tell us what we can and can’t do based on your narrow desires?

      ***No government in history has been a “mechanism for assuring freedoms” which is why we have a Constitution which strictly limits the power of government. The Founders, unlike idiots like you, knew all too well the oppression of government and created a bulwark against it. Nothing can “prevent oppression of the weak or less fortunate” but a just and fair system of law should protect ALL citizens not just the ones YOU like Jeffery.

      All throughout history it has been governments who oppressed the weak and less fortunate. It is government who controlled the gas chambers ad concentration camps of your fellow Nazis in WWII. It was the government that created the gulags and Siberian death camps of your beloved communist state Russia. It is the government that holds political prisoners for death in North Korea, China and Cuba. It is the government that executes homos, adulteresses, Christians, Jews, and those who don’t obey sharia law. Only a government tan take your property by force, not a business, not your neighbor. Only a government can kick in your door and drag you to prison, not McDonalds, not Joe the Plumber.

      Any fool who puts his faith in government is a lost idiot. And you, once more have proved yourself an idiot. Go read a f@ckin’ book will ya? Learn something before you spout off your idiot propaganda.

  18. Zachriel says:

    Rev.Hoagie®: Government by definition IS control, force, coercion. That’s why the Founding Fathers believed the government that governs least governs best.

    While the Founders certainly believed in limited government, they’re called Founders largely because they did away with the weak government of the Articles of Confederation in lieu of the much stronger Constitution of 1787.

    Rev.Hoagie®: Government most assuredly is a means to an end and that end is control over others.

    Not according to the U.S. Constitution, which was established to “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty”

    Rev.Hoagie®: No government in history has been a “mechanism for assuring freedoms” which is why we have a Constitution which strictly limits the power of government.

    According to the Founders, governments are instituted to secure unalienable rights.

    Rev.Hoagie®: It is government who controlled the gas chambers ad concentration camps

    Yes, and it was government that overthrew the Nazi regime.

  19. Zachriel says:

    Rev.Hoagie®: That was a nice little dance, Zachriel just so In the end you can agree with me for a change.

    We perhaps agreed in part, but we disagreed in part as well. Most everyone wants the least government necessary, but you had claimed the Founders believed “the government that governs least governs best”. That is contradicted by history as the adoption of the Constitution of 1787 instituted *more* government than the previously held Articles of Confederation.

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