The Curious Case of the ACA at tax time

Tax day has come and gone and nothing extraordinary happened (at least nothing extraordinary enough to be reported by the Washington Post or the New York Times). This non news should be news, because the much hated Obamacare mandate has been applied. Some Refund checks (many of which have not have been mailed yet) were or will be reduced by the Obamacare penalty. Then that’s it — extraordinarily the penalty can’t be enforced in any other way unlike other liabilities.

Perhaps more importantly, many more taxpayers have gone through the hassle of demonstrating that they have health insurance. This has not lead to enough outrage for it to be heard here on the other side of the Atlantic.

This is just the latest no news is good news for Obamacare. Oponents and alarmed supporters of have predicted several train wrecks, but only one has occurred — the exchange web site was not ready October 2013. However, actual payments to actual health care providers were made with no more than usual nightmare hassles starting January 1 2014. Roughly the predicted number of people signed up for health insurance. The vast majority of policyholders actually paid premiums. They were about as healthy as health insurance companies predicted, so selling insurance on the exchanges was profitable. More companies offered plans the second open enrollment period than the first. Efforts to find someone who was harmed because non Obamacare compliant mini-med plan (purchased after the ACA passed) was cancelled were unsuccessful.

None of these events was certain. Only the number of people signing up was headline news. Good news is no news. But this week saw a dramatically important non-event.