Trump has kept his promise: Health insurance mandate is history

President Trump has kept at least one of his campaign promises, effectively ending the mandate that required people to buy health insurance.  While approved by the Supreme Court, this mandate was unconstitutional because Americans cannot be compelled to buy health insurance, or to buy anything.

President Trump did not actually terminate the requirement to buy health insurance, but he tweaked the rules so enforcement is very unlikely to occur.

The health law's individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a "shared responsibility payment." The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it's not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.

But what would have been a mandatory disclosure will instead be voluntary. Silent returns will no longer be automatically rejected. The change is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.

Essentially, having health insurance is still a requirement, but there will be no requirement of documentation to prove you have health insurance, or even a requirement to affirmatively state that you have such insurance.  In effect, we all become holders of undocumented health insurance policies, and the requirement to buy health insurance is no longer really a requirement.

Who says illegal alien voters can have all the fun?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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