IRS will enforce new health care law

IRS graphic


Bill Radke: Well, Congress has enacted the historic health care overhaul. Now comes the hard part: enforcing it. From our health desk at WHYY in Philadelphia, Marketplace's Gregory Warner has that.

Gregory Warner: For the last three years, Alan Cohen has had to file an extra form with his Massachusetts state tax return. To prove:

Alan Cohen: That we have purchased insurance, or at least we have employer-sponsored coverage of some type.

Cohen directs the Boston University Health Policy Institute. Massachusetts requires residents to have insurance coverage. With the new health care reform bill, when the federal mandate to buy insurance takes effect in 2014, the IRS will be enforcing it.

State commissions will be in charge of making sure insurance companies conform to the new law. Tom Dehner is a health care consultant and former state Medicaid director. He says if insurance companies don't comply, states can bar them from participating in the sure-to-be lucrative exchanges, where they sell insurance to individuals and small businesses.

TOM DEHNER: Yeah. So if you're an insurance plan, you want to be part of the insurance exchange. And you're going to make the changes in your practice and your policies to make sure that that happens.

Proving that every stick needs a carrot as well.

In Philadelphia, I'm Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

About the author

Gregory Warner is a senior reporter covering the economics and business of healthcare for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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I have to agree with Tom's assertion that the new health care law is a furtherance of bad policy, but I do so for what is probably the opposite of his premise. While this is essentially "state sponsored theft" which does drive more business towards the insurers, the direct beneficiaries are all the people who can't or don't bother to obtain some insurance for themselves. While I can support some form of basic public health care available to all, modern medicine is a luxury service with an almost limitless array of wildly expensive products to consume. By taking from those who have to give a luxury service to those who don't, we have entered a realm that undermines the very freedoms agreed to by our founding fathers in the constitution. Charity is not the purview of the government. As for "The Spirit Level", the authors have the correlation between social issues and income disparity correct, however, it's the social issues which are the cause of the wealth disparity, not the other way round. And as sad as it is, you can't fix dysfunctional people by throwing money and free services at them. The best thing you can do is to give them something to work for and a path forward, while keeping them from harming their own state by having children that they can't feed, house or afford to raise in a healthy environment.

The bill makes the government an agent for the preservation and protection of wealthy private interests. It is state sponsored theft backed up by the threat of police action against the lower orders if they refuse to pay. Since there is no way to opt out this is a serious infringement of liberty on behalf of corporate interests by a kleptocratic state.

Since 1980 the federal government has followed policies that promote economic inequality. In their boo, The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett show how disparities in income create health and other social problems.

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