With tax season coming around, many Americans who lack health insurance will be slapped with the shared responsibility penalty.

But what happens if they don’t pay?

This recent Forbes article succinctly sums it up: Almost nothing.

“There are practically no real consequences for not paying the penalty.”

The key phrase left out, however, is “at the moment.” There are plenty of ways the feds could enforce the penalty, but are prohibited from doing at the moment. This includes tax liens, wage garnishes, levies and ultimately jail time.

But the law can change whenever Congress decides to amend it. And if there is something lawmakers love, it’s passing more and more laws or making bad ones even worse.

So while some may give a sigh of relief to the apparent lack of teeth behind this aspect of Obamcare, it is our sincere belief that in the event of massive nonpayment, the law will eventually be changed that will include harsh penalties against those who flout the insurance mandate.

Even if the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t enforce it right away, the penalties and fees can mount up.

Remember, the penalty for not having insurance is the linchpin of the entire health care law. Without it, all the incentive to sign up washes away. Someday, the IRS may have the authority to come and take away everything in a person’s house, including the house itself, for failing to pay the insurance penalty. Or, they could be punished retroactively for penalties they didn’t pay years prior and were never notified about.

Public opposition may prevent such legislation from passing in the short-term, but politicians know how to spin just about any issue so that ordinary citizens will support it without realizing it. Fear-mongering is a powerful and effective political tool.

This is why it is so urgent for us to act preemptively against any and all possible means of enforcing Obamacare in the states, including those which are currently. We cannot afford to wait until there are real consequences for not paying the penalty, and it will happen. Such legislation by the states would prevent the record of local liens from being kept that could later be used for future prosecution.

To see model legislation, click here.

TJ Martinell

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