Is the Mandate Unenforceable?
According to a report by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the individual mandate in Obamacare lacks any real enforcement mechanism:
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
(h/t to Morgen Richmond at BigGovernment.)
This is probably, to echo the vice-president, a B.F.D. Without effective enforcement of the individual mandate, and with proscriptions against denying coverage on preexisting conditions, you’ve got yourself the potential for a pretty big moral hazard.
Pass the bill to find out what is in it. Or what ain’t.