Two powerful congressmen recently introduced a bill with strong corporate backing to legalize robcalls to cellphones. The bill, which has been titled the "Mobile Information Call Act" would amend the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which restricts robocalls to any phone service "for which the called party is charged for the call," including cell phones, by adding an exemption for calls that are "made for a commercial purpose that does not constitute a telephone solicitation." The bill would also pre-empt all state-law restrictions on such calls.Read Full Article
Another day, another battle over health care reform. A false claim made by Congressional Republicans that the Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) will result in the hiring of 16,000-16,500 new IRS agents, who might possibly be armed, is receiving some high-profile and well-deserved pushback.Read Full Article
Ezra Klein reminds us of a provision in the health care bill dating back to the Senate Finance Committee's work in October that is important, but largely forgotten. If you don't abide with the bill's requirement starting in 2014 that you have acceptable health coverage, you are supposed to pay a fine to the government. But, under the new bill, those who fail to get insurance and fail to pay the fine will pretty much get off scott free.
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And what happens if you don't buy insurance and you don't pay the penalty? Well, not much. The law specifically says that no criminal action or liens can be imposed on people who don't pay the fine. If this actually leads to a world in which large numbers of people don't buy insurance and tell the IRS to stuff it, you could see that change. But for now, the penalties are low and the enforcement is non-existent.