John Ensign received the confirmation in writing. From the Politico:
This doesn’t happen often enough.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) received a handwritten note Thursday from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming the penalty for failing to pay the up to $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance.
Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it “Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.”
Now, the question is will the government actually enforce this penalty? What happens if millions of people refuse to buy health care? I don’t see how they could prosecute all of them since our court systems can’t handle the case loads they have now.
We already know if ObamaCare passes it will cost significantly more money than even the CBO is projecting, just as every government program always costs far more than originally projected. So when this $1 trillion health care program ends up costing the federal government about $5-10 trillion the feds will be so hard up for cash that they won’t want to send those who refuse to buy health insurance to jail. Instead they will have to fine them heavily in order to bring in additional money.
Be sure to read the note from Barthold here.
Update: Ed Morrissey is also alarmed at how insidious this is:
This should come as no surprise. Thanks to Baucus, the IRS would enforce the individual mandate, and a failure to comply would impose the fine, which in Baucus’ own words is called an “excise tax.” Those who refuse to pay their taxes will eventually go to prison for it, unless the person is someone like Tim Geithner, who then gets to run the agency that puts people in prison for failing to pay their taxes.
Debtors’ prisons for thee but not for me.