Congress is looking into whether a tax credit for those that participate in Obamacare will be more effective than a penalty for those that do not participate. Congress is also looking at whether a higher penalty will force more people into participating in the plan, since the plan heavily relies on participation. If Congress decides a tax credit is more constitutional than a penalty, the credit would be given towards the purchase of the health insurance. Government tax cuts would off-set the tax credits.
Right now, The Affordable Care Act imposes a rather small penalty for non-participation of $695 a year, or 2.5% of household income, whichever is higher. With generous government subsidies, a basic health insurance policy would cost over $2,000 for an individual earning $30,000 a year. Concern in Congress is that if too many people opt to pay the penalty, Obamacare will be in jeopardy.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, The Congressional Budget Office estimates that with the mandate, about 26 million Americans would still be uninsured in 2016. Of the estimated 26 million, the people that might not participate will consist mostly of undocumented immigrants, people who are exempt due to very low incomes, and those who do not want to participate for their own personal reasons. However, 26 million is down from nearly 56 million uninsured people in the United States right now. If you live outside of the country for more than 300 days of the year, you do not have to participate in Obamacare either, without a penalty. International health insurance is affordable and available.
A tax credit for those that do participate might just preserve the mandate. If Congress can also decide on cutting frivolous spending in government, than that will off set the credits. Government should not have a difficult time finding unnecessary government programs that can be cut which do not involve education or public safety.