Last night at an event in Miami, Mitt Romney embraced his status as the "grandfather of Obamacare."
I bet the Republican presidential nominee wished he had gotten a preview of today's Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) report on the tax costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care reform law.
The CBO and JCT now estimate that nearly six million people will face penalties (or a tax as the Supreme Court ruled) for not getting health insurance as required by the law's individual mandate that kicks in in 2014.
That's two million more than the previous estimate.The tax initially will be $695 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater, and will increase over time. By 2016 when the provison is fully phased in, the average penalty is expected to be $1,200.
One bit of good news for all these folks who could be facing the uninsured penalty is that the Internal Revenue Service, which will administer the fee, won't be that gung-ho about the provision.
An IRS representative told Congress earlier this month that the third-party reporting of insurance coverage will be handled just like current W2 and 1099 transactions.
And especially notable for the six million or so individual who might face lack of coverage charges, the IRS doesn't have any authority to place tax levies, liens or criminal charges against those who don't pay the tax.
The individual mandate is projected to bring in between $7 billion and $8 billion in annual federal revenue. But even though it will substantially bolster the U.S. Treasury, the mandate remains the most controversial component of the health care reform law.
Maybe the CBO/JCT's larger estimate of potential payers of the health care tax is part of the reason why Romney today said that his acceptance last night of what he then called a health care compliment was in fact a sarcastic joke.You also might find these items of interest: