The health care reform legislation contains the “mother of all loopholes,” which allows average Americans to avoid certain civil penalties, like federal liens, if they choose not to purchase “mandated” health insurance, reports the progressive online publication the Daily Kos.
“It turns out the mandate is not mandatory because the penalty is purely voluntary! What happens if you failed to pay that penalty? Nothing! No criminal charges will be filed, no penalties will be assessed, and the IRS has no right to file any lien on you,” the liberal blog opines.
“As someone who is very unenthusiastic about the mandate, I am glad to see that it is toothless.”
The bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, still does require patients to pay a fine of $750 per year if they do not have insurance.
Interest accumulates on unpaid taxes, under the tax code. Though the government will not have the power to imprison taxpayers or put a lien on their property, the government still has the power to collect the debt through its normal collection process.
This penalty provision has generated a lot of controversy, including a petition from a number of conservative activists — and lawyers, like former Attorney General Edwin Meese and Northwestern University law professor Stephen Calabrese — complaining that the requirement to purchase insurance is an infringement on the personal liberty of Americans, protected by the Constitution of the U.S.
The Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce under the constitution, but not buying something is not commerce.
“The individual mandate is not authorized by the Commerce Clause. Most of those advocating the Democrats' bill say that Congress can pass this legislation pursuant to its power to regulate interstate commerce. That argument is incorrect, because there is no interstate commerce when private citizens do not purchase health insurance,” reports The American Spectator, a conservative publication.
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