A reader writes to say she’s a conservative who’s as fed up with the GOP as many of us, but today discovered a potential avenue for a Republican comeback. She says she and her husband spent the day with their tax preparer, and had their eyes opened:
The tax preparer had (by her employer’s rules) to show us a form illustrating how much money the IRS will confiscate from us in 2014 and 2015 if we show up without health insurance (which we have, but she has to show the form to everybody). People were wondering about how the collection mechanism for the “fine” would work, and this is how: you lose your tax refund and/or have your tax burden increased if you can’t prove that you have health insurance.
So the IRS is going to be involved in the new government “health care” industry and will be collecting the penalty for not buying health insurance–proving that this baby was always about increasing taxes, and never really about reforming health care.
In addition, the lady doing our taxes told us about how her adult daughter and son-in-law are about to lose their full-time jobs. They’re not being laid off; they’re just going to have their hours cut to <30/week so the company that employs them won’t have to buy them health insurance (it hasn’t been providing employer-contributed health care up to now, and I got the impression we were talking about a small local business). Her daughter could theoretically be put on mom’s health insurance for a year or so until she passes age 26, and with part-time hours for the couple their child qualifies for the “free” state children’s health insurance program, but the dad is out of luck. Oh, and since their payroll taxes increased in January this young educated working couple can’t even dream of buying their own family health insurance plan. So in effect they could be penalized with higher taxes for not buying something that the rules embedded in the health care plan make it impossible for them to buy (by effectively encouraging their employer to cut their hours).
Out running errands after the tax appt., we saw more panhandlers than I’ve ever seen in daylight hours away from the downtown area–on street corners, drifting through parking lots, moving from place to place with their cardboard signs begging for help. And the real hard times haven’t even started yet.
What do you think?