Although the Obama administration downplayed the penalty that Americans would pay for failing to have health insurance under ObamaCare’s individual mandate, $2.8 billion in penalties in 2016 (though April 27, 2017) is hardly a bag of shells — especially for lower-income individuals who got nailed.

Since inception of the so-called “shared responsibility payments,” the individual penalty has increased from about $95 to, on average, $708. Still, apologists for government-directed health care point out that the number of people who paid the penalty — 4 million — is down from the previous year (an estimated 5.6 million got penalized, according to 2015 tax returns). More than likely, that’s because of President Trump’s Jan. 20 executive order to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burden” of the Affordable Care Act.

As such, individuals can opt out of paying the penalties, under certain circumstances, in filing their tax returns, which are described as “silent” returns by the IRS. But reportedly the IRS doesn’t look kindly on these types of returns. And an H&R Block spokesman told Bloomberg earlier this year that a “silent return” may trigger “an IRS notice or audit.” Then there’s the problem of people who simply can’t find insurance in the ObamaCare exchanges.

Contrary to Democrats’ spin, no amount of simplistic tweaking is going to fix all that ails ObamaCare.


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