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Coverage mandate under fire

Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2009

Conservatives have opened a new front in the healthcare debate with the assertion that under the Democrats' plan, people who refuse to buy health insurance could spend five years in prison. Supporters of a health overhaul called that a scare tactic along the lines of last summer's uproar over "death panels," and said that scenario would virtually never happen, the Wall Street Journal reports. The notion has its origins in the bill's requirement that most Americans must get health insurance, with the help of government subsidies if necessary, or pay a special income tax of up to 2.5%. If someone refuses to get insurance and refuses to pay the tax, that person would be guilty of tax evasion.