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Published on Nov 9, 2009
Komo 4 News (ABC Seattle) Reporter Shomari Stone Asks House Speaker Nanci Pelosi a fair question about the following:
According to Committee On Ways & Means Republicans Ranking Member, Dave Camp, "the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay the bills new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years."
BUT IN ALL FAIRNESS, the Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this information in an email to Shomari Stone about an hour after the news conference
"Reform includes a shared responsibility requirement, for those who dont already have insurance to either purchase affordable health insurance or pay a fee of 2.5 percent of their income so they are not driving up everyone elses health costs.
Under the bill, the only people who would face the fee for not purchasing insurance are those who can truly afford to purchase such insurance.
For those who can afford insurance but for some reason do not purchase it, they simply pay the fee a fee designed to cover their costs when they use the health care system. For a small number of people who might refuse to pay the fee, it is important to remember that, in the majority of cases, the IRS which will enforce the insurance requirement uses the CIVIL process to settle delinquent penalties and taxes.
It would only be in extremely rare circumstances that criminal prosecutions of any kind would be pursued. Indeed, in 2008, there were 156 million individual tax returns filed in the United States. Out of all of those 156 million returns, there were only 100 criminal prosecutions for willful failure to pay taxes and only for the most egregious examples of those who willfully defraud the system."