Claim about Obamacare fines not based on facts

October 31, 2013 

Whether one favors the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") or opposes the law, it is imperative that one's view be based on the facts in the law -- not on rumor or misinformation.

A recent letter submitted by Dr. Adrian H. Krieg provides a discouraging example of an important claim about the Affordable Care Act that has no basis in fact.

The doctor sees his goal as "exposing Obamacare for how terrible it is." The "evidence" that he provides in support of his view includes the claim that if one fails to purchase health insurance, one must "pay a fine of $200 per month." And that, he says translates into "$3,096.12 per year."

The doctor's claim is simply false. The penalty that is specified in the law is actually $95 for the year 2014. It will rise to $325 for 2015, and $695 for 2016, or 1 percent to 2.5 percent of income, whichever is larger. (See the Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, Title I, sec. 1501 and 5000A, amended in the Reconciliation Bill H.R. 4872, sec. 1002.)

There is no mention of monthly penalties, let alone an annual penalty of more than $3,000 in either the original or in its amended version. One can only assume that the substantial error here has its source in rumor and/or misinformation. It surely did not arise from a reading of the Affordable Care Act.

Suzanne C. Dickie


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