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Does the Health Care Bill’s Penalty for the Individual Mandate Have Any Teeth?

Lawrence O’Donnell is a liberal that is usually so obnoxious that he is almost unbearable to watch on MSNBC.  However, for the last several months, he has been a major critic of this gargantuan mess that has been called saving Obama’s Presidency the Health Care Bill.  During this time, he has actually seemed very knowledgeable about what was in the bill and couldn’t imagine why the Republicans weren’t highlighting the tax increases more in their opposition (neither could I).  Tax increases that he called, “the largest in history”.

He was on Morning Joe again today and preaching, that while the IRS has the right to levy a penalty against anyone who doesn’t purchase government approved health care, it has, by statue, no authority to enforce the collection of that penalty.  Specifically, he quoted page 331 of the House Reconciliation Bill titled:

Waiver of Criminal Penalties

Any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalties with respect to such failure.

He also went on to claim that it prohibited the IRS from placing liens or taking any other enforcement action. 

When this gets widely know, there will be about six million less folks covered by health insurance.  The healthy, younger folks will remain uninsured until they need insurance which will further drive up insurance rates due to actuarial realities.  Democrats, as usual, will blame the increases on greedy insurance companies and try to make a case for single payer.

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