This item has been sitting in my files for a while (1), but, since we’re deep into tax season, it’s still relevant — especially so for people relying on that federal subsidy to help pay for their “affordable” health care:
As many as 3.4 million people who received Obamacare subsidies may owe refunds to the federal government, according to an estimate by a tax preparation firm.
H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
“The ACA is going to result in more confusion for existing clients, and many taxpayers may well be very disappointed by getting less money and possibly even owing money,” the president of a tax preparation and education school told the Journal.
While the Affordable Care Act fines those who don’t have health insurance, it also provides subsidies for people making up to four times the federal poverty line ($46,680).
But the subsidies are based on past tax returns, so many people may be receiving too much, according to Vanderbilt University assistant professor John Graves, who projects the average subsidy is $208 too high, the Journal reports.
If, like a lot of people, you’re used to getting some sort of a refund, you probably already have an idea of how much you expect and how you plan to spend it. Imagine then how happy these many millions of people will be when they’re told they’re either getting less of a refund, or that they in fact owe money. And, on top of that, their subsidy for the next year will almost certainly be lower, so even more of their money will go to the insurance companies by force of law for coverage that probably isn’t as good as they had before, or at least isn’t what was promised.
That, my friends, is a recipe for angry voters. And, oh, there’s a presidential election warming up, too. Fancy that.
If anything good comes of this fiasco, it will probably be the hard-learned lesson that government is poorly equipped to do more than a certain few tasks and running a huge, massively complicated healthcare system isn’t among them.
Call it another “teachable moment.”
(1) Ancient by Internet standards — a whole month!
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)