Baucus Bill: Buy Health Insurance or Die

Conn Carroll /

This past Thursday during the Senate Finance Committee markup of Obamacare, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) received a hand written note from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold confirming that the penalty for failing to pay the $1,900 fee for not buying health insurance could include jail time. Specifically, the note read:

Sec 7023 of the code provides that if there is a willful failure to file, pay, maintain appropriate records and the like that the taxpayer may be charged with a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to $25,000 and not more than one year in jail.

One year in jail for not buying health insurance? In his 1991 classic, Parliament of Whores, P.J. O’Rourke explains what happens next:

Not paying taxes is against the law. If you don’t pay your taxes, you’ll be fined. If you don’t pay the fine, you’ll be jailed. If you try to escape from jail you’ll be shot. Thus, I – in my role as citizen and voter – am going to shoot you – in your role as taxpayer – if you don’t pay your share of the national tab.