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Health Insurance Reform Mythbuster - Reform Could Mean Jail Time or Harassment from IRS for Americans Who Don't Buy Insurance

Following the President signing historic comprehensive health insurance reform legislation today, opponents of reform continue to spread myths about the bill, including claims that Americans who don't buy health insurance could face jail time or harassment from the IRS.   Below are the facts.

 MYTH: “The IRS will hound taxpayers, confiscate property, or put you in jail if you do not have health insurance.”

FACT:  The bill specifically prohibits the IRS from confiscating taxpayer assets, from using liens or levies, or imposing criminal penalties of any kind -- including jail time -- because of a lack of health care coverage.

MYTH:  “The IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes.

FACT:  This number is a fabrication -- and the fact is that any new IRS employees would help deliver the more than $500 billion in tax relief provided under this bill: ensuring that individuals and businesses are aware of the tax incentives and how to claim them; answering taxpayer calls; building online self-help tools; and performing other outreach services. 

Health insurance reform provides the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in American history -- and the IRS makes it easy for Americans who qualify for help by paying a significant portion of their premiums up front -- so they never have to pay the full bill.

The claim that IRS agents would be dispatched to quiz Americans citizens on the intricacies of their health plan is FALSE.  Insurance companies will automatically report health care coverage that they provide to both taxpayers and the IRS.