February 10, 2017
An Associated Press report noted that millions of people are signing up for health insurance using the Obamacare system “even with the uncertainty created by President Donald Trump’s vow to repeal and replace it,” but didn’t note that people are still legally required to buy insurance or pay a stiff penalty.
The report said that more than 12 million people have signed up under Obamacare and that “a clear majority of those enrolled — nearly 64 percent — live in states that Trump carried in November.”
The report frames the debate over healthcare insurance as though the millions who re-newed or obtained coverage would likely present a problem for Trump and congressional Republicans attempting to overhaul Obamacare, though the story noted that “initial enrollment is about 4 percent lower than last year.”
But the story never said that people who decline to purchase insurance are, by law, subject to possibly thousands of dollars in penalty fees.
The Healthcare.gov website says that the penalty applies to each month that an individual or their dependents do not have coverage.
The penalty amounts to either 2.5 percent of household income or $695 for individuals over 18, whichever number ends up being higher. Minors under 18 not covered receive a $347.50 penalty.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has said the public should expect new legislation governing health insurance by the end of 2017. But Republicans and the White House have not been able to definitively state that a new health care law would be more effective in covering Americans without a penalty similar to Obamacare’s.