Listening to various pundits and reading various sources I get the impression that the individual mandate isn’t really enforceable.
As I understand it, the law gives collection responsibility to the IRS but apparently doesn’t have any penalties for failing to pay the penalty (or tax or whatever the hell it is) and doesn’t allow liens.
About the only thing the IRS can do is withhold the money from any refund that is due. If so, then anyone who doesn’t receive a refund gets off scot-free. If your refund is lower than the penalty then you end up paying only part. You can, of course, change your deductions to make sure there’ll be no refund for them to withhold.
However, I’m also hearing that the IRS is hiring thousands of new agents to enforce the penalty.
So what’s the truth here? Is the mandate at all enforceable?
If it’s not, how will it affect the insurance companies that are now faced with having to take all applicants at any time, including people who wait till they’re sick to apply?