The Congressional Budget Office recently came out with estimates about the number of people who will be affected by the penalties caused by the insurance mandates. According to the CBO, about 4 million people will be charged fines in 2016.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that only 4 million people will be uninsured by then. The CBO estimates that 21 million people will actually be uninsured, but the large majority won’t make enough to be hit with penalties. Which means that the ones who will be hit are those in the middle class – people who make enough that they don’t qualify for exemptions, but not enough that they feel comfortable committing a portion of their income to buying health insurance in the first place.
And according to the Associated Press, this would “violate Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the IRS may withhold tax refunds from those who can’t prove they’re insured.
Health reform and lower taxes for the middle class were two of the major platforms that Obama used to win the presidential election. But if he’s giving up one at the expense of the other, what does that say about what else he’s willing to give up to make health reform work?
Meanwhile, governors in some states have opted-out of the high-risk pool, electing instead to form their own. The decision to go with the federal government or run their own pool seemed to be fairly split on party lines, with a large portion of Democratic-run states choosing to run their own pools, and Republican states opting to let the federal government take over. In states that choose not to run their own programs, the federal government will use their share to cover that state’s uninsured itself. HHS unveiled each state’s share of the $5 billion last week.