However you feel about the Affordable Care Act—and it's no secret that the majority of Oklahoma citizens are dead against it—“Obamacare” is officially the law, ever since the Supreme Court deemed it constitutional in a highly anticipated decision in June 2012.
One unexpected wrinkle of the Supreme Court's ruling, though, is that it officially designated the ACA insurance mandate as a tax rather than a matter of interstate commerce. What this means is that enforcement of this provision of the ACA will be up to the IRS—most probably, a separate division of the IRS set up specifically to deal with the individual mandate.
Considering that there are people in Oklahoma who still don't think the federal income tax is legal—and that provision of the law is almost 100 years old—what should be your stance vis-à-vis the Affordable Care Act? Well, it's extremely unlikely that the individual mandate will be repealed any time in your lifetime; these types of programs tend to develop their own momentum, and it's surprising how quickly people can progress from considering a law an excessive burden to treating it as an expected government benefit (witness the case of Social Security).
The fact is that, come 2014, you'll have to knuckle down and buy health insurance, if you don't already have coverage via your employer or a private plan. The legal implications of all of this are still up in the air; be assured, though, that the Oklahoma tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC are keeping on top of the situation! If you have questions about your potential tax liability under the ACA, call 800-721-7054 toll-free for answers.