CBO: Six Million People to Pay Individual Mandate Penalty Tax in 2016

The Congressional Budget Office has just released new estimates of the number of people who will be subject to the individual mandate penalty tax for failing to obtain qualifying health insurance in 2016. According to CBO’s new analysis, the penalty tax will be paid by six million people. The penalty tax will generate an estimated $7 billion for the U.S. treasury and 80 percent of those paying the penalty tax will earn less than 500 percent of the poverty level. (For reference, the poverty line for a family of four is $23,050 in 2012, according to HHS.) The estimated number of people who will have to pay the penalty tax is approximately 50 percent higher than the CBO’s 2010 estimate, but the CBO only attributes a small portion of the increase to potential state decisions to opt out of the Medicaid expansion as allowed by NFIB v. Sebelius. According to the CBO, 30 million Americans will remain uninsured in 2016.

UPDATE: The AP reports: “Nearly 6 million Americans — significantly more than first estimated— will face a tax penalty under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul for not getting insurance, congressional analysts said Wednesday. Most would be in the middle class.”