In a video response to a constituent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed Wednesday that the best way to respond to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal is by “repealing Obamacare,” which he claimed would be enforced by tax collectors demanding payment from Americans who do not purchase health insurance.
“When you read a headline that a powerful government agency is targeting people because of their political views, that’s the kind of headline you read in other countries, not here in America,” Rubio said in footage picked up by Talking Points Memo.
“As far as the IRS’s role in Obamacare, now that’s chilling, because if you noticed, the IRS is deeply involved in implementing Obamacare; they’re on the front lines of it,” he continued. “The IRS is gonna go through the country asking people, ‘What kind of prove to us that you have health insurance,’ ‘prove to us that the health insurance you have is adequate.’ And if you don’t have health insurance, ‘Pay us $2,000 or a similar fine or fee or tax as a result of failing to get health insurance.’”
That’s not actually true, however. The Affordable Care Act does not enforce the individual mandate with a $2,000 penalty “or a similar fine or fee.” Instead, annual tax filings will now include space for individuals to list their health insurance coverage. Those who do not list coverage will receive a smaller tax return for the year — a far, far cry from IRS agents going “throughout the country” demanding Americans produce health insurance or pay up, although the Supreme Court ruled the mandate does technically qualify as a tax.
Of course, all a person has to do to avoid that tax is claim a religious exemption. Alternatively, if the cost of the cheapest health insurance is more than 8 percent of a household’s income, or the individual in question lives under the poverty threshold, the mandate does not apply to those folks either. The IRS will also provide hardship waivers for people who do make enough money to be insured but for other reasons could not purchase coverage.
This video was published to YouTube on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.