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  • “ObamaCare Fines Nailed The Working Class In 2017 And Other Unpopular Truths”

    Posted by Jonathan on July 29th, 2017 (All posts by )

    Investor’s Business Daily:

    Preliminary data from the 2017 tax season are in, and they’re shocking. Not only does it look like the working class bore the brunt of ObamaCare individual mandate penalties this year, but people with relatively modest incomes apparently paid a lot more than the Congressional Budget Office anticipated.
    [. . .]
    The 2017 tax data offer new evidence that there’s much to be gained by moving away from the individual mandate and much to lose by sticking with it. Tax returns that had been processed as of April 27 included 4 million that paid ObamaCare fines (officially known as individual shared responsibility payments), with an average payment of $708.
    What is striking about the data is that the average payment is barely higher than the minimum payment of $695. Since people were required to pay the greater of $695 or 2.5% of taxable income above the filing threshold ($10,350 in 2017), one takeaway is that most of the $2.8 billion in fines paid through April appear to have come from people with modest to moderate incomes. As a frame of reference, CBO’s 2014 analysis implied that the average mandate payment for this tax season would be roughly $1,075 and that the total amount paid by people earning up to three times the poverty level would barely exceed $1 billion.

    There is much more interesting information in the article. Worth reading in full.


    19 Responses to ““ObamaCare Fines Nailed The Working Class In 2017 And Other Unpopular Truths””

    1. Mike K Says:

      McCain with his grandstanding last night left the mandates in place,

    2. Brian Says:

      I still don’t understand why HHS doesn’t give waivers to everyone for all aspects of obamacare. Precedent was set many times that they can do that.

    3. ColoComment Says:

      No politician will EVER vote to take away goodies. They will only approve replacing some goodies with different goodies. …because people believe that they’re getting something for nothing & they’ll “punish” any pol who confronts them with the reality of basic economics.

      The ideal solution would be to let the health care and health insurance industries free to sell people the care and policies that they can afford & want to buy. Pre-fund to a basic level Medicare and Medicaid HSAs & let those folks bargain and shop for what the care they can afford and want to buy.

      For the rest, Mark Perry has a post:

    4. jaed Says:

      Obamacare isn’t a goodie. Why is it so hard for people to understand this? It’s not a benefit. It’s destroying people.

    5. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      I’m shocked.

    6. Mike K Says:

      ” It’s not a benefit. It’s destroying people.”

      So is free methamphetamine.

    7. A Lurker Says:

      Another message the Conservatives ought to be hammering out, along with their pronouncements to repeal/replace, is that health care is not a legitimate function of the federal government in the first place.

      Yes, I know we’ll be stuck with Medicare and Medicaid(no way to turn those off now), but “universal health care?” No. I think if the GOP keeps pounding out this message, it would help make the argument that the states are better positioned to deal with this, and would be free to do as much or as little as they please, in all sorts of flavors. Kinda like it used to be, before Obama dorked things up.

      “Not a legitimate function of federal government.”

    8. Brian Says:

      A Lurker: You’re a couple generations too late. The Obamacare “26 year olds stay on their parents insurance” provision is the most idiotic and infantilizing thing I have ever heard of, yet it is supposedly very popular. There is no way you can tell people that the government isn’t going to do everything possible to take care of them. The fact is people don’t want health insurance, they just want their health care taken care of without having to think about it. Telling them the government isn’t supposed to do that is a ticket to Libertarian Party level irrelevance.

    9. Christopher B Says:

      The more we go around on this problem the more I become convinced that the root cause of most of the issues involving health insurance (as distinct from health care .. they are different) is the tax benefit for employer-provided health insurance. The problem that Brian points out is driven by the view that most people have of ‘health insurance’ as ‘pre-paid medical care’, something that nobody thinks of when viewing auto, home, or life insurance. The main driver of that view is the feeling that they are leaving money on the table if they don’t make use of the health insurance that is a significant part of their total wages. It might be useful for the GOP to let Obamacare go (it’s going to die it’s own painful death eventually) and focus on attacking this instead.

    10. dearieme Says:

      I wouldn’t have the cheek to propose to Americans how they organise their system. But if I were designing a system for some other country I’d look at combining a free market insurance system for those notable risks that are insurable, a pay-for-it-yourself attitude to the pretty much guaranteed minor slings and arrows of life, and a taxpayer-subsidised system for those conditions of low probability but ruinous expense that insurance companies would refuse to cover.

      Whether such a system could ever be made to work in a universal franchise democracy where Peter always wants Paul to pay, God alone knows.

    11. Mike K Says:

      “Whether such a system could ever be made to work ”

      I have been an advocate for the French system, at least in principle, for years.

      The French system was devised by the Free French minister of health while in exile in Britain during the war.

      It has several basic principles.

      One is that it is funded by payroll deduction like employer insurance here. That is also a weak point as France has had decades of high unemployment due to stupid laws on labor.

      Two, The patient pays the provider FIRST, then gets a rebate from the plan.

      Three, the provider structure includes individual practice setting, groups and HMO-like clinics.

      Four, Hospitals are included and some are private.

      The rebate payment is negotiated each year or period with the provider groups which function like unions.

      The rebate payment is NOT payment in full. The providers are allowed to charge what they can get people to pay.

      In real major emergencies, the patient is allowed to receive the service before paying.

      Medical school is free and a college education is not necessary for admission. That cuts the cost of entry for the doctors.

    12. dearieme Says:

      “a college education is not necessary for admission”: in many countries you study medicine as your first degree(s). And indeed law.

    13. ColoComment Says:

      “Obamacare isn’t a goodie.” To the contrary, it’s all in the perspective.

      I submit that, when you’re the recipient of something that you personally do not pay for, and you are so ignorant of basic economic principles that you identify that something as a “right” to which you are entitled notwithstanding that there is indeed a cost that is borne by other people whom you do not & will never know, then yeah, I think you might generally think of that thing as a “goodie.” It’s sorta like manna randomly falling from heaven, to some folks.

    14. Mike K Says:

      in many countries you study medicine as your first degree(s). And indeed law.

      It’s fairly recent here, too. The revisions in medical education about 1890 changed a lot.

      I was an engineer before medical school but I could see a role for a lesser level of training, as is the case I believe in Britain, where an MD is not the basic degree.

    15. Ginny Says:

      Dearieme, that sounds more like car insurance – we pay for a new battery, the insurance pays for an accident, and, oh, perhaps some personal injury pettifogger gets us money when the rest of our lives are screwed from companies who have insurance for such problems – or we just go on Medicaid. When I started thinking that we didn’t expect our auto insurance to pay for our tires, etc. I started thinking of health insurance differently. Also, I remember how we saved a bit for our first child (in 1977) and paid it all ourselves (in increments during the 9 months). And I think we would take better care of ourselves – or not. At least we’d feel more responsibility – dependence builds lack of engagement. My. other two were expensive – of course, I was relatively old (43 for the 3rd one) but also the world of medical bills had changed as much as my body had.

      The closer these insurance groups are to us the more sensible they are likely to be – at some point, of course, it becomes too small to do what it needs to do – but between that level of small group and a large group which allows more graft and gold bricking should surely be some sweet spot.

      Off Topic: A large backer of heritage projects in Texas is the SPJST (Sharp said he couldn’t pronounce the Czech and his grandmother told him just to remember its members were Special People Jesus Sent to Texas). But its products are mainly life insurance, loans, etc.

    16. dearieme Says:

      “where an MD is not the basic degree”: I don’t think anyone in Britain thinks of a medical training (or a law training) as being of doctoral level. So our medics overwhelmingly don’t sport an “MD”.

      The name(s) for medical degree(s) differ from place to place, as far as I know, but a representative one would be “MB, Ch B” i.e. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. That would take 5 or 6 years (I’m not up to date on exactly how long it takes). Those cynics who say that basic medical training is really just six years of freshman courses might even object to Bachelors degrees being awarded, but I look upon that as a good tease rather than a serious point. After those degrees, of course, the kiddy-winkies then vanish into hospitals for more training. And then perhaps more and more, as they take their Fellowship exams.

    17. raymondshaw Says:

      This link is more appropriate to the medical care discussion that occurred in the ‘Triage vs surge Pricing thread’, but I’ll stick it here
      as this thread is ongoing.

      That is a pretty slick way to shorten the queue. Once the principle has been normalized, they can then apply it to the entire basket of
      deplorables. And imagine that Sarah Palin had the cheek to talk of death panels!

    18. dearieme Says:

      Ah, but is it true or is it what’s called “shroud-waving” where such tales are used to try and extort more money from the taxpayer?

    19. jaed Says:

      I submit that, when you’re the recipient of something that you personally do not pay for, and you are so ignorant of basic economic principles that you identify that something as a “right” to which you are entitled notwithstanding that there is indeed a cost that is borne by other people whom you do not & will never know, then yeah, I think you might generally think of that thing as a “goodie.” It’s sorta like manna randomly falling from heaven, to some folks.

      Obamacare is not a goodie. It’s not a welfare program. It doesn’t give people something they personally do not pay for. It has almost destroyed the individual insurance market. People are paying ruinous prices for insurance that has such high mandated out-of-pocket costs that they can’t afford to see a doctor for anything that’s not life-threatening, and such narrow networks that it’s almost unusable when something is life-threatening…

      …and you call it a “goodie” and complain that the victims aren’t grateful enough?

      By the way, if you’re talking about the group that get premium subsidies:

      1. Having to pay for useless insurance… but not pay quite as much… is not a boon. Particularly when the sword of Damocles is held over your head all year: if your income rises one dollar above the 4x-poverty-level-threshold, you will owe thousands of dollars.

      2. The 5% in the individual market are paying well over a third of the cost of the implicit and explicit premium subsidies. That was almost three years ago. It will be worse now.

      But tell me again how Obamacare is “manna falling from heaven”, do.