Democrats believe they are the only party that cares about the poor. The liberal mainstream media promotes this false premise. ObamaCare is a perfect example.
ObamaCare was passed exclusively by Democrats in 2010 with the expressed purpose of improving the healthcare of the poor. It has been successful in increasing the rolls of the insured by about 20 million, 15 million of those newly enrolled in Medicaid. I could easily argue that those 15 million people are worse off on Medicaid than they would be without insurance, but that’s an issue I’ve addressed before. (Medicaid Solutions For the Poor)
ObamaCare Taxes the Poor
Today I want to talk about the ObamaCare tax on the poor. The Wall Street Journal reports that IRS data offers insight into who paid the ObamaCare Individual Mandate tax in 2015 for not buying health insurance.
For those of you who receive your health insurance through your employer, you may not be aware of this tax. For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government can tax you for failing to purchase something – in this case health insurance. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it was not constitutional to assess a penalty fine for failure to purchase insurance but it was constitutional to assess a tax. Chief Justice John Roberts made this distinction in order to render the law constitutional.
IRS data shows that in 2015 about 8 million Americans paid the tax which totaled about $3 Billion in revenue. More than one in three of the taxed households earned less than $25,000, which is roughly the federal poverty level for a family of four.
More than 75% of penalized households made less than $50,000 and 9 in 10 earned less than $75,000. Fewer families paid the tax in 2015 than in 2014, yet government revenues increased to more than $3 billion from about 1.7 billion since the tax increased. In 2014 the tax was $95 or 1.0% of income. In 2015 it increased to $325 or 2.0% of income. In 2016 it increased to $695 or 2.5% of income and thereafter it will be adjusted upward for the cost of living.
In other words, the federal government collected over $3 billion dollars from people who couldn’t afford to purchase health insurance or considered it such a poor value it wasn’t worth the money. Is this any way to treat our low-income families?
Ironically, ObamaCare also contributed to this problem by destroying the individual insurance market, depriving these same people of low-cost alternatives. High-deductible, catastrophic plans that were popular with the same people are no longer available due to the restrictions of ObamaCare.
Supporters of ObamaCare will argue that subsidies are available for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid. But 8 million Americans didn’t get enough in subsidies to make the purchase of private insurance affordable, or a wise economic choice.
So the plight of low-income Americans is this: accept Medicaid, a second-class healthcare system (if eligible), purchase expensive healthcare insurance with deductibles so high it is unusable, or pay the tax if you choose not to purchase the insurance. Which choice would you make if you were in their shoes?
This is the choice Democrats and Republicans like Senators Paul, McCain, Collins and Cruz are leaving the poor when they refuse to replace ObamaCare.