April 23rd, 2010
12:42 PM ET
4 years ago

CBO report: 4 million will pay health care penalty

New York (CNNMoney.com) - About 21 million Americans will be uninsured in 2016, when health care reform laws are fully implemented, with 4 million of them subject to a penalty for failing to buy insurance.

Those projections were released Thursday in a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO said that collections from the penalty will total $4 billion a year over the 2017-2019 period.

High-income families making at least $96,000 will pay two-thirds of those fines, while families making between $24,000 and $96,000 will contribute nearly one-third of the funds collected.

Under the health care overhaul, which legislators passed in March, most U.S. residents will be required to purchase health care or pay a fine. By 2016, the penalty will be either a flat $695, or 2.5% of household income - which ever is higher. The fines are capped based on income.

The CBO report noted the majority of the uninsured will not be subject to these fines because they belong to exempt groups including extremely low-income households, some religious sects and unauthorized immigrants.

Of the 4 million people who will pay the fine, about 9% will have annual income below the poverty line: $11,800 for individuals and $24,000 for a family of four. Fees paid by that segment of the population will make up 4% of the total money collected from penalties.

In contrast, households with income above 400% of poverty level - more than $96,000 - will comprise 36% of people paying the penalty, and 66% of the total penalty revenue.

President Obama signed the health care overhaul into law March 23, despite unanimous Republican opposition. The plan is projected to extend insurance coverage to about 32 Americans who are currently uninsured. The government will help people pay for it by expanding the Medicaid program, as well as giving out subsidies and tax credits.

States will be required to create exchange programs that will allow individuals and small businesses to shop for insurance and negotiate better prices. But several states have filed suit, saying the overhaul is unconstitutional.


Filed under: CNNMoney.com • Health care
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Breckenridge

    One of Obama's many ways of redistributing the wealth.

    April 23, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Reality

    what's to bet that the IRS is just going to sit in their office and check everyone off as 'owning insurance'?

    April 23, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Mikey

    Good. Get rid of the healthcare freeloaders entitlement mantality types who think they can go without insurance and the rest of us will pick up the tab when they get sick. Aparently, the Tea Party is full of them. They don't want to pay taxes, but they still want their Social Security, Medicare, military, roads, schools, airports, and such.

    April 23, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. rachel

    What's this I hear? a penalty, but why would anyone have to pay under the new healthcare law we are all suposed to be able to afford it right??? I even heard one senator say that people shouldn't think about it as a fine your just be in a different tax bracket than some one else lol. The things they come up with.

    April 23, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "The plan is projected to extend insurance coverage to about 32 Americans who are currently uninsured. "

    Brilliant! Proofread much?

    "States will be required to create exchange programs that will allow individuals and small businesses to shop for insurance and negotiate better prices."

    And we'll all get to watch as the red states dilly dally and drag their feet implementing these exchanges in order to skew statistics about whether the bill is working.

    April 23, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz

    I can't wait to hear the republican spin on this. Let's see how far they'll strecth the truth this time.

    April 23, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. phoenix86

    Welcome to the perversity of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Healthcare "Reform".

    April 23, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. keith in Austin

    Let's hear from all you mealy-mouthed Liberals that will have to pay for your own Healthcare insurance!

    It doesn't look like Comrade OBarry is giving you another Government freebie does it! Get ready for his Cap and Trade and Federal sales taxes coming your way shortly!

    "No tax increases for ANYONE earning less than 250K per year" Remember??? That's what you get for trusting a radical, Democrat! Tax and Spend baby! The liberal credo!

    April 23, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Harry A. Mitchell III

    Ok, so if your income is $11,800 for an individual and $24,000 for a household of 4 and you chose not to get healthcare (which I don't understand) you will have to pay the fine? Isn't that like taking food out of these peoples mouths?

    April 23, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. SocialismBad

    YEAH!! Payup all you healthcare CRIMINALS! Spend your money the way ODUMBO and the DemocRATS demand that you spend it or PAY THE PRICE FOR DEFIANCE of their edicts.

    I can hardly wait until they target all you over weight criminals costing us biilions in added healthcare costs. Ohhhh.... this is just the START of their march to control almost every aspect of your life!

    Unless of course they are all tossed out on their rear ends this November!!!

    April 23, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    21 million will be uninsured? Good Lord, this is going to put LacrossMom(the real one) off the deep end.

    (doing the math... 30 million uninsured now... minus 21 million STILL uninsured in 2016... means 9 million get insured under this plan... okay, got it)

    So can someone enlighten me on why over a trillion was spent to insure 9 million people, which was less than a third of what it was intended to?

    Oh yeah... it's a government program. Never mind.

    April 23, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The way I see it you drive without insurance: you get fined. You drive withouta a license: you get fined. They have until 2016 to AVOID getting fined. That's FOUR YEARS to you and me, 28 years if you consider yourself a dog.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if the people at the SEC are still indulging in watching hootchies cootchies while on the job.................

    April 23, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Chispter

    Haven't we all been paying a penalty for years when those without insurance go to hospitals and are unable to pay for their care? Taxpayers have picked up the tab for that although much of that cost could have been avoided if the uninsured had preventive health care! A national health care plan like this is long overdue.

    April 23, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. terry,va

    This report is not surprising. Another report just came out from the Health and Human Services. It said costs will increase under Obummie's health care law. The H&HS also say that cuts in Medicare will put 15% of hospital and other health facilities in the red (losing money for all you liberal idiots) and will possibly jeopardize access to care for seniors. Don't you see why Obummie and the dumbocraps were is such a hurry to cramp this law down our throat? This is the same thing they are trying to do with financial , energy and immigration legislation. People that are paying the taxes better wake up and demand the dumbocraps to stop their socialist agenda before they permanently ruin this country !!!!!

    April 23, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. AlexSD

    I hope that states get what they want. The Supreme Court and Federal Courts are only our hope to save rights, freedom, and the Constitution

    April 23, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    THIS is why we need universal health care, or at least an strong public option. Which we might have had if the Republicans had honestly tried to work with the Democrats instead of just saying no to everything.

    April 23, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. David

    High-income families making at least $96,000 will pay two-thirds of those fines....

    Why aren't these families paying for their own health insurance rather than depending on the rest of us to foot the bill via emergency room visits and higher premiums? It's obvious they can afford it with that level of income. What a bunch of free loaders.

    I'm sure the right wingnuts will complain about the tax anyway.

    April 23, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. D. J. Crosby

    Paragraph eight states that the health care plan will extend coverage to about 32 Americans who are curently uninsured. That is just plain stupid. I bet there are lots more than just 32 folks who don't have insurance. Most of my relatives don't have insurance and I can count about 23 or 24 of them right off the top of my head. I don't know where you CNN agents get your facts but you better check them out before you go spreading stuff that aint true.

    April 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Beverly- NYC

    The unenforceable "fines" are cheaper than actual insurance costs. There is really no incentive for people to buy insurance who think they are healthy and don't need it. If you want to roll the I'm never going to get sick dice , go ahead , this is America you have a right to be stupid. However, when medical bills bankrupt you because you did not forsee health problems in your holistic crystal ball. Don't complain on these blogs, accept the consequences. I for one am sick of covering people who won't pay their fair share. There's no reason those of us who are responsible should have to pay for those of you who are not.

    April 23, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. DYLANSDADDY

    This is how Obama plans to pay down the deficit. Nice.

    April 23, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. republicans hate america

    who cares these are the same people that show up the ER get treated and have the tax payer pay for those dead beats. Im glad they are getting penalized.

    April 23, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Uncle Sam

    I was just looking at health insurance costs for several area businesses. 100-1000 employees. The $695 fine is about the cost of one month of any of these group plans cost. If you are a healthy american with the ability to pay costs you'd be a fool not to pay the penalty.

    This health reform is so misguided.

    April 23, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. all the news that's fit to omit

    Are any of these people making less than $250,000 a year?

    Fees on crutches, wheelchairs etc, etc, any chance they make less than that amount............

    My bad, the liar in chief changed his lie, err, message, nobodies income taxes will go up who make less than $250,000.

    Of course that had to be changed to fit these fees and taxes and the VAT tax coming in AFTER November.

    Barry, you are one and done you lying gutless fraud.

    April 23, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Ardie

    Before all of you slam the President please keep in mind he did not write this bill. If you have sent negative e-mails then you need to hear what he had to say today which is Friday. He does not like the bill either. We need some way of controlling illegal , yes I said illegal immigration. But this is not the bill to get it done. We spend a year for health care reform I think we should at least give us a few more months to take care of this. Arizona is only thinking of itself and its own politics. I hope they don't think that this is the standard for illegal immigration.

    April 23, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. bess

    so... Obama, Pelosi & Reid jammed through a healthcare bill "needed to cover 30 million uninsured American's" and there will still be 21 million uninsured? what's the big deal about 4 million having to pay some weanie fine; shouldn't the outrage be the 70% of uninsured who remain uninsured?

    April 23, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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