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How many will pay health-care tax penalty? CBO estimate rises 50 percent.

Citing a gloomier economic outlook, and to a lesser extent the Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid expansion, the CBO now estimates 6 million people will pay the health-care tax penalty by 2016.


In this March 28 file photo, supporters of health-care reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on the final day of arguments regarding the health-care law signed by President Obama. Congressional budget analysts are now estimating that nearly 6 million Americans, most of them in the middle-class, will have to pay a tax penalty for not getting health insurance once Obama's health-care law is fully in place.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File

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Citing a gloomier economic outlook, the Congressional Budget Office now says the number of people who will pay tax penalties under President Obama’s health-care reform law will be 50 percent higher than originally estimated – 6 million instead of 4 million – when the tax penalties have been phased in completely in 2016.

Some 30 million nonelderly US residents (essentially, those not eligible for Medicare) are expected to be uninsured at that point, according to a CBO report released Wednesday.

But a majority of them will not fall under the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because they are either unauthorized immigrants, members of Indian tribes, or low-income earners who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income on health-care premiums.

Of the 12 million people who do fall under the mandate, about half will qualify for exemptions due to economic hardship or religious beliefs, the report says.


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