April 08, 2010
UPDATE: Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Lying or Ignorant?

A few days ago, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz incorrectly told her constituents, "We actually have not required in this law that you carry health insurance."

She went on to say it's a choice in how you file your taxes, not a requirement.

She either didn't read and understand the law, or she's lying. Section 1501 of the law she voted to pass amends Subtitle D of the IRS Code, adding a new Section 5000A, which is titled, "Requirement to Maintain Minimum Essential Coverage." The very first words of 5000A are, "An applicable individual shall for each month beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who is an applicable
individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month."

The law itself, that she voted for and supposedly read, says, unequivocally, that people (unless they are exempted, such as Indians and Amish and incarcerated prisoners) are required to have health insurance.

Ironically, Wasserman Schultz said on her Facebook page a few days earlier: "A FACT Check: Members of Congress and the health insurance reform bill? Apparently some people don't know that the health insurance reform bill we just passed REQUIRES that Members of Congress and their staff to obtain the same health insurance plans created by the law (some states might offer different plans) or through... the Exchange (market or purchasing pool) created in the law."

And, apparently, some people (ahem) don't know that the same bill REQUIRES all non-exempt people to obtain health insurance.

UPDATE: Just after I wrote this, Wasserman Schultz was on Crossfire with Chris Matthews and she repeated the same line: there is no requirement, it's simply a different way to file your taxes. She's an intelligent woman, she's had a few days to fix her error, and she's still repeating this clearly false statement, so I'm calling it: she's not merely ignorant, she's lying.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

Posted by pudge at April 08, 2010 04:27 PM | Email This
Comments
1. pudge, I found the problem. Turns out Ms. Wasserman Schultz is a Democrat.

Posted by: Gary on April 8, 2010 04:34 PM
2. Gotta love a health care reform that required hiring 16,500 new IRS agents. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: Bastiat Fan on April 8, 2010 05:38 PM
3. And that is what the problem is. NOBODY knows what is in this stupid "health care" monster. This, of course, assumes that they aren't lying about the parts that they DO know about and these bums sure aren't shy about bald faced lying. After all, their government gravy train is in jeopardy if they tell the truth.

Posted by: G Jiggy on April 8, 2010 05:41 PM
4. When you don't have health insurance, you are required to pay the IRS penalty. If you don't pay the penalty, the IRS will fine you. If you don't pay an IRS fine, they put you in jail. And, voila - incarcerated prisoners are exempt from being required to carry health insurance!
So, technically, she isn't lying!
November can't get here soon enough!!!

Posted by: FLPatriot on April 8, 2010 06:13 PM
5. The problem is Dems are lying sacks of s____ who stoop to lies in order to impose their "socialist utopia" on this nation.
How cretins like wasserman-schultz can face constituents and tell whoppers like this is truly stunning.
That lefties support this kind of "government" makes a pretty strong statement about their "values" (more in line with Port-au-Prince 1965 or present day Caracas Venezuela than the U.S.A.).

Posted by: Attila on April 8, 2010 06:53 PM
6. G Jiggy: And that is what the problem is. NOBODY knows what is in this stupid "health care" monster.

In this case, we know exactly what is in it. There's no question.

FLPatriot: When you don't have health insurance, you are required to pay the IRS penalty. If you don't pay the penalty, the IRS will fine you. If you don't pay an IRS fine, they put you in jail.

Not true. The law says clearly (Sec. 1501, now IRS Code Subtitle D Sec. 5000A(g)(2)(A)): In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminalprosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.

You cannot go to jail, or even be prosecuted, for not paying the penalty for not having health insurance.

Posted by: pudge on April 8, 2010 07:04 PM
7. The IRS doesn't need to put you in jail to completely screw over your life. Garnish wages, deny licenses (driving, business, etc.), trash your credit rating so you can't buy a house or a car. Will there be a few people on the fringe who can get away with it? Probably. Most people are going to pay the fine. If they try to avoid it they will get penalties on top of the fines and eventually have to pay them too.

Of course as long as the fine is less than the cost of insurance there will be plenty of people who just take the hit, knowing they can always by health insurance after they get sick. That will put the insurance companies out of business, and we will be left with the subsidized "government pool". Single payer by any other name.

Hairy

Posted by: Hairy Buddah on April 8, 2010 08:22 PM
8. Everyone who is criticizing this fine CongressCritter should be ashamed! Have we learned nothing from all the celebrate diversity talk the Lefties have shoved down our throats for years? It is obvious that Rep Wasserman Schultz is one of what we used to call "God's Simple People", those with limited intelligence who can be trained to do useful things like tie their own shoes, button a shirt, and perform useful tasks like assembling ballpoint pens or work as a CongressCritter. I, for one, think she's the tops for being so limited and yet having accomplished so much.
On the other hand, the voters of Florida should call her home and put someone with actual brains and good judgment in there to run the country. Schultz can still live out a meaningful life in a sheltered workshop or as the person who cuts up the gator food at Gatorland.

Posted by: PresidentSuit on April 8, 2010 08:26 PM
9. Hairy Buddah: The IRS doesn't need to put you in jail to completely screw over your life. Garnish wages, deny licenses (driving, business, etc.), trash your credit rating so you can't buy a house or a car.

I am no expert on what the IRS can do, but the law says -- in IRS Code Subtitle D Sec. 5000A(g)(2)(B), just below the prohibition on criminal penalties -- that they cannot put liens or levies on your property.

That said, that restriction on liens and levies can be changed later, and would be able to apply retroactively (since the law and penalty for breaking the law is already in place, and this is just a restriction on what actions the IRS can take, it likely would not run afoul of ex post facto prohibitions).

So maybe the IRS can do some things, I dunno, but right now, under the law, there's a few things they cannot do. But, that can change, too.

Posted by: pudge on April 8, 2010 08:39 PM
10. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Lying or Ignorant?
There is a 3rd choice of willfully stupid, but frankly,Pudge, I find this democrat's track record consistent with all 3 of the options available. None of which speak well to her political longevity.

Posted by: Rick D. on April 8, 2010 09:20 PM
11. They can fire up the Selective Service System and draft you...that would be my prediction.

Posted by: Don Swanson on April 8, 2010 09:39 PM
12. Pudge,

One of the things the IRS can - and does - do is decide what your tax payments apply towards. It's not uncommon for people to make a payment towards the IRS and the IRS only credits it against interest and late penalties, rather than the principal. You have to explicitly state what the payment is for otherwise it's at their discretion.

So you refuse to pay your health tax, but pay income tax instead. Uh, not so fast! The IRS has decided that - since you didn't explicitly state it was for income taxes - that a chunk was for your health care, and thus you underpaid your income taxes and they CAN go after you for that.

Tax payments are fungible, and you can bet they will allocate those payments as best suits their interests!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on April 8, 2010 09:40 PM
13. Don Swanson: They can fire up the Selective Service System and draft you...that would be my prediction.

There is no draft, that would take a further act of Congress. And so would any changes to this law to allow them to use criminal penalties, so ... I dunno, I am just talking about what is actually allowed under this law. :-)


Shanghai Dan: interesting regarding payments. Good to know.

Posted by: pudge on April 8, 2010 09:56 PM
14. A Democrat lying? Perish the thought.

Posted by: Jeff B. on April 9, 2010 12:20 AM
15. YOU LIE!!!!

Posted by: jtm371 on April 9, 2010 06:23 AM
16. You can argue all day about what the IRS will do if you fail to pay the fine. It really doesn't matter what the law says today because it will be changed since the money from the fines was used as a selling point for paying for this monstrosity, the law will have to be changed because most people will elect not to get insurance or pay the fine. Remember the additional 32 million people this bill is suppose to cover don't make a lot of money and 100% of them fall in the 47% of americans that don't pay taxes. So how is the IRS going to collect? They aren't until the law is changed.

Posted by: Jon on April 9, 2010 06:56 AM
17. UPDATE: Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Lying or Ignorant?


BOTH!

Posted by: yo yo its meo on April 9, 2010 07:05 AM
18. Jon: You can argue all day about what the IRS will do if you fail to pay the fine.

There's no argument, the law is quite clear. They cannot use criminal penalties or prosecutions, and cannot place levies/liens on you.


It really doesn't matter what the law says today because it will be changed

Probably. But we need to make clear what the law says now, before talking about how it might be changed.


the law will have to be changed because most people will elect not to get insurance or pay the fine

If you mean they will elect to NEITHER get insurance NOR pay the fine, no, that's unlikely. The IRS can still withhold tax refunds if you don't pay the penalty, first of all. Second, if in the future they do change the law, the penalties (and penalties on the penalties) can be enforced retroactively, so it's an extremely dangerous game to play, to not pay the penalty year after year ... some day you'll just be hit by all the penalties at once.

Posted by: pudge on April 9, 2010 07:38 AM
19. I asked this question to Rob McKenna last week in his Seattle Times on-line press conference. He stated that health insurance would be a mandatory requirement as stated in Section 1501. Up until then, there were contradictory articles from conservative publications (including this blog !) which surprised me. I hope that their lawsuit moves forward successfully. That could influence future elections in a more favorable way for cut-government conservatives.

I am not surprised that Wasserman-Schultz would lie about it to the quislings on MSNBC. The propaganda machine of the Democrat Party and the White House has probably brainwashed many Democrats including Congress into believing this.

One other note to the GOP: Stop saying that you will repeal Obamacare, unless you say after Jan. 2013. It will not be able to be repealed until Obama is out of office. How many Republicans are parroting these lines without realizing it is not possible - makes them look stupid...

Posted by: KDS on April 9, 2010 08:21 AM
20. KDS: there were contradictory articles from conservative publications (including this blog !) which surprised me

Contradicting the claim that health insurance was mandatory? On Sound Politics? Where?


One other note to the GOP: Stop saying that you will repeal Obamacare, unless you say after Jan. 2013. It will not be able to be repealed until Obama is out of office.

That's far from guaranteed. And many of us want to see them try.


How many Republicans are parroting these lines without realizing it is not possible - makes them look stupid...

It IS possible. There's two obvious ways. The first is to convince the Congress to do a veto override. The second is to strongarm Obama into signing it. Neither is likely, but both are possible in various ways (for example, giving them something else they want, while keeping certain portions of the bill, and threatening to shut down the government).

And it's worth trying, for many reasons: e.g., even if the bill is passed and vetoed, it will at least be kept in the public mind, and signing it into law can be a promise made by the eventual GOP candidate for President.

Posted by: pudge on April 9, 2010 08:46 AM
21. Rep Inslee made the same claim during his tele-townhall last week, stating that ObamaCare motivates personal responsibility and the mandate is a choice put in place to make sure everyone is part of the solution. I guess the choice is between purchasing a gov't approved health insurance policy or paying the fine. Interesting way to use words - Orwellian.

Posted by: Belle on April 9, 2010 09:02 AM
22. Orwellian indeed. Reminds of when Senator Reid said our income tax system is voluntary.

REID: "Our system of government is a voluntary tax system."
INTERVIEWER: "If you don't want to pay your taxes you don't have to?"
REID: "Well of course you have to pay your taxes."

Durrrrrr.

Posted by: pudge on April 9, 2010 09:16 AM
23. Pudge:

Here is the SP post - (the reference is from a biggovernment.com post) ;

March 26, 2010
Decline to comply (II)
Is the "mandate" to purchase insurance voluntary? The penalty for non-compliance appears to be unenforceable, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation's analysis of the Obamacare bills:

The penalty is assessed through the [Internal Revenue 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.
The "mandate" doesn't kick in until 2016, so there's time for an unchecked Obama to impose an enforceable penalty. Good luck with that.

But the Obamacare demanders will all comply with a voluntary mandate, right?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 26, 2010 04:07 PM | Email This

Posted by: KDS on April 9, 2010 10:36 AM
24. KDS: the point Stefan made was not that there IS no mandate, but that there's no enforcement.

I suppose you could read into it -- especially with the quote marks -- and hear him say there's not actually a mandate, but that's not how I read it: he was simply saying it's not enforcable.

Note that this is almost entirely different from Wasserman Schultz's point, which is not that there is no enforcement, but that it is simply an OPTION whether to have insurance or change "how you file your taxes." That's completely false: it's a requirement, with a penalty (though perhaps unenforcable) for violating the law.

Posted by: pudge on April 9, 2010 10:44 AM
25. Agreed, except that the way the article on biggovernment.com read. It is likely to be ultimately unenforceable, but what's up with the 16,500 new IRS agents ? My take is that the government (as long as Obama is POTUS) will try with all their might to enforce this, given the opportunity. If there is another POTUS, that would all go down the toilet, where it belongs.

What I was saying is that too much was being read into the interpretation of this and Wasserman-Schultz was lieing by omission. I posed the question to McKenna and agree with his answer. If this Section 1501 does not get overturned by the court, it won't go into effect until 2016 and it seems that the post was about speculation more than anything else.

Posted by: KDS on April 9, 2010 12:47 PM
26. KDS: Wasserman-Schultz was lieing by omission

Well, what she said was not a lie by omission, it was simply categorically false. She said there's no requirement in the bill. She repeated it. She lied.

Posted by: pudge on April 9, 2010 02:20 PM
27. A lie by omission can also be categorically false. She clearly needs to be replaced in the House. The chances are looking up for a changing of the guard in the House of Representatives come November, but there is still a long ways to go.

The main ingredient missing is a plan akin to the Contract for America that the GOP runs with. I believe that the Tea Party is in the process of drafting one. The GOP lost its way back shortly after GW Bush was elected and the best thing to hope for would be a symbiotic relationship with the Tea Party movement, because unlike the GOP, they have a clear picture what they want.

Posted by: KDS on April 9, 2010 07:21 PM
28. I'm glad we have video of this. I agree with Judge Napolitano when he was on Stossel this week. He said, "the video camera and youtube are our primary weapons to fight our current government."

I would love to see a coordinated effort to get all of the Democrats on tape making bullshit statements like this. Then compile a 30 minute video of the highlights and then run a money bomb to get it on TV in large markets heading into November.

I think finally we may see people punish politicians for their willful ignorance and deception.

Posted by: blindman on April 10, 2010 12:01 AM
29. uh...my previous post has some creative sentence structure, please forgive me. I'm more than a couple beers into my Friday night fun. I'm trying to drink the mass-market beer now while it's cheap :-)

Posted by: blindman on April 10, 2010 12:07 AM
30. #28 - Well stated, perhaps with the aid of a couple beers. :)

Posted by: KDS on April 10, 2010 08:43 AM
31. again, if this healthcare BFD is so dang good for us all, put (mandate) all of Congress and THEIR families on it first as a trial for 5 years; then, I'll believe the snake oil salesmen; nothing like a good prototype or test flight with THEM at the wheel first;

Posted by: jimmie howya-doin on April 10, 2010 10:03 AM
32. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity - unless they're a Democrat; then it's definitely malice!

Posted by: Seabecker on April 11, 2010 09:48 PM
33. I think we all know Debbie is stretching the truth on this one (and that is a kind way of saying it).

I am supporting Karen Harrington in the Republican primary this August. She is the perfect person to replace DWS. Check her out and let's give Debbie the boot once and for all.

www.karenforcongress.com

Posted by: Jen in Hollywood on April 12, 2010 03:22 PM
34. The IRS can try to withhold my refund, but since I set my exemptions up such that I have to pay every year, I have no refund for them to withhold.

And I won't be paying the fine, either.

Posted by: Mark on April 12, 2010 06:36 PM
35. (From Powerline)

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid confidently predicted that once they enacted Obamacare, voters would come to love it. While I didn't buy that spin, I did think there was a good chance that many less-engaged voters would view the government takeover as a fait accompli and would accommodate themselves to it. In fact, the opposite has happened: as time goes by--so far, at least--opposition to Obamacare grows. Scott Rasmussen finds that 58 percent of voters now favor repeal of Obamacare; a mere 38 percent want the law to remain in effect.

This trend is heartening, not only because I think the law's opponents are correct, but because it means the public has soundly rejected the Democrats' tactic of smearing the bill's opponents rather than arguing their case on the merits."

Americans are starting to wake out their apathy slumber, while the progressivist Democrats wreck haavoc on this country. Their mental illness is starting to show itself clearly. Maybe its the perceived consequences is what is waking up the electorate. This is like a bad dream and don't think many will forget about this for a long time. I could be wrong, but I know I won't.

Posted by: KDS on April 12, 2010 08:02 PM
36. Mark: be forewarned. Your fines for not carrying insurance can accumulate over time, and the law can be changed in the future so they can apply levies or liens retroactively.

So maybe you avoid paying the fines for 10 years ... then in year 11 they lift the levy/lien restrictions on the IRS. Now you owe 10 years' worth of penalties.

Because the law is written in such a way to only restrict how the IRS may collect, and not whether the penalties are applied to you, it most likely does not run afoul of ex post facto law prohibitions.

Do what you want, but don't say you weren't warned!

Posted by: pudge on April 12, 2010 11:30 PM
37. She is really stupid and hopefully will be voted out. Or, this may be a way to massage the truth and try to make it sound less like a personal mandate, since they are getting grief over that. But then it also could be considered a "tax" on those who don't buy coverage, and that would affect those under $250,000 - Obama's magic number. Her changing the message reminds me of the main character in "1984".

Posted by: B on April 13, 2010 04:43 PM
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