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Posted by on Sep 27, 2009 in Health, Politics | 57 comments

Don’t Buy Health Care? Pay $25,000. Can’t Afford The Fine? Spend A Year In Jail.

Guest Post By Leonidas

Leonidas is a frequent, right of center commenter on The Moderate Voice and has been invited as a Guest Voice.



Policio reports:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.
Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.

Two thoughts occur to me.

First, not everyone will have an easy time scraping up the money to pay, although I know some assistance is planned to be made available.

Secondly (if they can’t pay $1,900 what are the chances they can pay $25,000?), can our overcrowded penal system handle the increased traffic? Should people who couldn’t afford to pay be grouped with thieves, drug dealers, and worse?

To me this type of penalty makes this less appealing than a fully paid public option (as much as I oppose that). What they should do instead, if they must do this at all, is to freely cover everyone with catastrophic insurance and let individuals buy their own “other than catastrophic insurance” on the proposed markets. This should be without threat of legal penalty and with any available assistance, having the cost of the catastrophic coverage taken out of it. Fining and imprisoning people for not buying into health care strikes me as against the principles of our nation.