Health reform: 6M penalty, 19M tax break

Sept. 21, 2012 at 8:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Nearly 6 million U.S. adults may face a tax penalty of about $695 in 2016 for not buying health insurance, congressional analysts said.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office said it estimated the mandate requiring U.S. adults to buy healthcare insurance in 2016 -- two years after the Affordable Care Act is enacted -- would be 2 million more than it originally estimated because it now expects more people to be unemployed, The Hill reported.

However, the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank in Washington, said the Affordable Care Act is a large tax cut for middle-class families.

"Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act would give millions of middle-class families large tax cuts to make health insurance premiums. In size and scope these tax credits far outstrip the tax penalty paid by the tiny percentage of Americans who will voluntarily turn down affordable health insurance," the Center for American Progress said in a statement.

"Only 1.2 percent of Americans will pay this penalty, and they are people who do not already have health insurance and choose not to purchase coverage, even though they can afford the cost. Other taxpayers will have to continue to subsidize care for these people if they get sick, but the tax penalty will help offset this expense. The bottom line is that the Affordable Care Act is a major tax cut for the middle class."

Fox example, for the 19 million people who don't have health insurance and choose to get it in 2014 they will get tax credits -- an average of $5,490 a year -- to offset the cost of the health insurance premiums, the Center for American Progress said.

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