6.5 Million Americans Paid Fines in 2016 Rather Than Sign Up for ‘Obamacare’

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
August 9, 2017Politics
6.5 Million Americans Paid Fines in 2016 Rather Than Sign Up for ‘Obamacare’
Copy of a letter from the Internal Revenue Service with a fine for not opting into "Obamacare." (Reddit)

More than 6 million Americans chose to pay a fine rather than sign up for insurance in the “Obamacare” exchanges in 2016, according to the National Review.

The mandatory fine has been the most unpopular part of “Obamacare.” President Donald Trump promised to repeal “Obamacare,” officially named the Affordable Care Act, during his 2016 presidential campaign.

But when the bill to repeal “Obamacare” was up for a vote this summer, several Republicans voted against it, despite running for office on a promise to repeal the ACA. Trump is working to secure enough support for a repeal vote in the fall.

“Millions of families across our nation are suffering under the disaster known as ‘Obamacare,'” Trump said in a weekly address on June 23.

“Democrats in Congress created this calamity and now if we don’t act, millions more Americans will be hurt by ‘Obamacare’s’ deepening death spiral.”

In addition to the 6.5 million Americans who paid fines last year, 15 million would drop their “Obamacare” insurance if it was legal to do so, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The ACA requires that all health insurance companies cover a specific set of benefits. This requirement significantly drove up the costs of the most basic plans.

As a result, Americans who may actually want to buy insurance, do not have any affordable options to choose from and are forced to pay the fine.

For example, there is no legal insurance plan under “Obamacare” that just covers major health care costs like surgeries or hospitalizations.

Average premiums have more than doubled since 2013 nationwide, according to the White House.

The White House projects that people in 40 percent of all counties nationwide will have only one insurance carrier to choose from in 2018, if “Obamacare” is not repealed. In 2015, Americans paid $3 billion in fines instead of buying health insurance.

The ACA is also holding down wage growth, since most Americans receive their health insurance from their employer, according to Scott Rasmussen, co-founder of ESPN, a New York Times bestselling author, public speaker, and syndicated columnist.

“If the cost of benefits were the same today as a generation ago, the average pay for full-time workers would be more than $3,300 higher annually,” Rasmussen wrote.

“Some people might prefer a bigger paycheck and less comprehensive coverage,” he said.

Only about 40 percent of Americans eligible for subsidies through “Obamacare” actually signed up for plans, according to health care policy analyst Bob Laszewski.

“In what other business or government program would such a dismal acceptance by those it was targeted to serve be considered a success?” he said.

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