The Washington Post (2/15, Goldstein) reports the Trump Administration is making its initial changes to the Affordable Care Act by “reversing plans to withhold tax refunds this year from Americans who flout an insurance requirement in the law.” Under the Obama Administration, the IRS “had announced that it would no longer process tax returns for people who fail to send a notice with their returns that they have insurance, are exempt from the requirement or are paying the fine.” But on Wednesday, the IRS revoked this rule, saying instead that “tax returns will be processed as always, even for individuals who do not provide the required information.”
The New York Times (2/15, Sanger-Katz, Subscription Publication) reports in the “The Upshot” blog that this rule change is “actually a continuation of an informal Obama administration policy.” The policy is in line with President Trump’s executive order “to reduce burdens related to compliance with the health law.” The Times explains that the Obama Administration’s practice “was informal” and “tax preparation software...essentially made it impossible to omit” the information. Because of Wednesday’s statement, Intuit said it will change its products to allow users to omit the information. The IRS also said on Wednesday that “it will continue to enforce the penalty” for not having insurance.
The CBS Evening News (2/15, story 10, 0:35, Pelley) reported that “the IRS essentially killed...the individual mandate” because while “the law will remain...the agency will not check tax returns for health coverage.”
The Hill (2/15, Sullivan) reports that it remains to be seen “how much of an effect the decision will have. The mandate remains the law, and people are still supposed to pay a penalty for lacking coverage.”