Analysts: 6M to be penalized under new health law

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(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - Congressional budget analysts are now estimating that nearly 6 million Americans — most of them in the middle class — will have to pay a tax penalty for not getting health insurance once President Barack Obama's health care law is fully in place.

That's 2 million more than a previous estimate found, or a 50 percent increase. The average penalty will be nearly $1,200.

Starting in 2014, the new health care law requires virtually every legal resident of the U.S. to carry health insurance, or face a tax penalty. The Supreme Court upheld Obama's law as constitutional after finding that the penalty fell within the power of Congress to impose taxes.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday the penalty will raise $6.9 billion when fully in effect in 2016.

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The Wall Street Journal reports the analysts estimate that roughly 15 percent "of the increase is expected because of the recent Supreme Court decision that upholds the law but tells states they won't be required to beef up their Medicaid programs. While the number of those facing the penalty has risen, the slice of the population facing the tax is roughly one-fifth the 30 million non-elderly U.S. residents that will remain uninsured."

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