More from the "didn't read the bill before they signed it" department: individual mandate unenforceable

Word is spreading about a problem with Obamacare’s individual mandate that citizens must buy health insurance. Apparently, the penalty they’ve been talking about applying to people who don’t follow the mandate can’t be enforced. The federal Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report this week and they found that the law clearly states that the penalty assessed cannot be enforced:

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.

Emphasis and boldface taken from the post located here. Morgen Richmond writes in that post:

This issue was actually the subject of a very amusing exchange between Rep. Anthony Wiener and Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday. While the facts seem to vindicate Rep. Wiener who argued repeatedly that the bill would not criminalize non-compliance with the individual mandate, this is actually the worst possible news for those who believe in the merits of the mandate and the bill in general.

Because without an effective mechanism of enforcing the individual mandate, the entire system is likely to collapse. (The individual mandate is the “third leg of the stool” as many a liberal has been pointing out for months.) Given that the bill also bans insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, WHY WOULD ANYONE OBTAIN INSURANCE COVERAGE PRIOR TO NEEDING IT? This was already going to be a problem with the relatively low cost of the penalty, but take away any meaningful enforcement of it and it is a complete and total joke.

Such a combination of a mandate for the insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and no enforcement of buying the insurance before the condition manifests is guaranteed to require outlays from the system with no regular inputs from subscribers. That’s a recipe for bankruptcy. Of course, one could suppose that might be the entire point. The alternative is that the people who pushed for this bill to become law and who voted for it enthusiastically are merely colossally incompetent. This is just the latest in a string of unpleasant discoveries about what was in the bill that no one knew about and what wasn’t that everyone was saying was. Pelosi famously made the statement that we’d have to let them pass the law before we’d see what was in it. I didn’t realize she was talking to her fellow Democrats as well. Nice work, folks.