The Internal Revenue Service won't enforce the "ObamaCare mandate," leaving some to wonder whether the Affordable Care Act can survive. But the law evidently is already on its last leg.
The ObamaCare mandate requires virtually everyone living in the United States to have some form of health insurance – and to indicate such on federal tax forms. Until now, those who went without health insurance and didn't qualify for an exemption had to pay a tax penalty, which was one of several funding mechanisms for ObamaCare.
"ObamaCare was never going to survive," states Devon Herrick, Ph.D., senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis. "It wasn't working in 2014, it wasn't in 2015, and it didn't work in 2016 – so we see no reason, in fact we see less reason, why it'll work in 2017."
Now – by virtue of an executive order signed by President Trump – filling out that specific line on IRS tax forms is optional. Herrick acknowledges that the order to ease the economic burdens of ObamaCare certainly won't help the law, but he argues that the president is doing it for a reason.
"It's to give some relief to people who are forced to buy coverage that is not giving them much in terms of benefit," he explains.
Speaking of coverage, the IRS announcement follows the decision by Humana not to offer exchange plans for 2018. That will result in even fewer choices, as other big insurers had already made the decision not to offer plans for 2017.