Pelosi bill: Jail for no insurance

• Section 7203 — misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 — felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]

That anyone should face prison for not buying health insurance is simply incredible.

And how much will the stay-out-of-jail insurance cost? The Joint Committee noted that “according to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the lowest-cost family non-group plan under HR 3862 [the Pelosi bill] would cost $15,000 by 2016.”

Obama’s bill only provides subsidies to help pay this enormous sum after families making about $45,000 have paid 8 percent of their income for insurance and after those earning a household income of about $65,000 have kicked in 12 percent.

The Joint Committee on Taxation noted that while the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill did not include criminal penalties, “The House Democrats’ bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.”

Remember that simply buying catastrophic insurance, which may be all the young uninsured family needs, does not constitute having adequate insurance under the Obama bill. It has to be total, all-inclusive insurance for one to avoid the penalties in the legislation. That is because Obama wants to use these premiums from the currently uninsured to subsidize his program.

So Ms. Pelosi is requiring Americans to pay these steep premiums, or a fine of 2.5 percent of their income for not doing so, or, potentially, go to prison!

Anyone who is familiar with the U.S. prison system can attest to the large number of people incarcerated for similar white-collar offenses. That the House bill would treat failure to carry health insurance or pay the fine as tax evasion or willful nonpayment is amazing!

And where is the constitutional basis for requiring everyone to buy insurance? It is OK for a state to make drivers pay for automobile insurance? Driving is not a right, it is a privilege, and the state may regulate it by demanding insurance. Banks can require homeowners to buy insurance as a condition of their lending. But how does the federal government get the right to require a family to buy health insurance or face a civil penalty and, failing that, to face either a criminal fine or jail?

The tough penalties in the House bill are designed to keep insurance companies from opposing the bill. It was the relaxation of these penalties in the Senate Finance Committee version of the legislation that led the companies to reverse field and come out in opposition to the legislation. The insurance companies want to see their coffers swell when tens of millions of new customers are required to buy insurance. The more draconian the penalties for failing to pay them large sums of money to pad their bottom lines, the better.

The more you read this bill, the worse it gets.