According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), the House health care bill passed last Friday empowers the federal government to imprison people for up to five years if they willfully refuse to buy federally regulated and approved health insurance.
Shomari Stone of Komo 4 News in Seattle pressed the Speaker on this point yesterday. Watch:
UPDATE: This video has since been marked “private” by an unknown party. We are trying to track down a public version.
UPDATE: It’s back up!
President Barack Obama recently told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that he shares Pelosi’s belief that jail time is an appropriate punishment for not buying health insurance. Obama did not always believe this. Debating Hillary Clinton in 2008, Obama said:
And I think that it is important for us to recognize that if, in fact, you are going to mandate the purchase of insurance and it’s not affordable, then there’s going to have to be some enforcement mechanism that the government uses. And they may charge people who already don’t have health care fines, or have to take it out of their paychecks. And that, I don’t think, is helping those without health insurance.