Six million Americans likely to pay healthcare tax in 2016

Reuters News

9/19/2012 4:51:49 PM - Reuters News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Budget experts on Wednesday raised their forecast of how many Americans will probably have to pay a penalty in 2016 for not buying health insurance to 6 million from 4 million.

The increase was likely to be attacked by Republicans who want to repeal President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, a major issue in the presidential election campaign.

The Congressional Budget Office said changing economic forecasts and legislative changes prompted the big jump in its estimate of people who could face a penalty for not having health insurance under Obama's Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Under the law, upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court earlier this year, individuals must acquire health insurance, but those who can't afford to pay for it will have access to government programs and exchanges.

The penalty for not having health insurance is graduated and rises to $695 in 2016, or 2.5 percent of household income.

The government is expected to collect between $7 billion and $8 billion from the tax, according to the CBO.

(Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Christopher Wilson)