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Calif. legislators restore tax on individuals without health insurance

California legislators approved a bill Monday that would restore a hallmark of Obamacare: the tax imposed on individuals who do not carry health insurance.

The bill, Senate Bill 78, restores a tax known as the “individual mandate” upon Californians who do not carry minimum health insurance.

The individual mandate was at the center of a controversial 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, wherein the majority – led by Chief Justice John Roberts – ruled that the individual mandate penalty was a tax and thus constitutional.

In 2017, the Federal individual mandate attached to Obamacare was repealed as part of an overhaul of the tax code.

Monday’s vote in the state Assembly on Senate Bill 78 received no Republican support. One Democrat, Asm. Rudy Salas, Jr. (D-Bakersfield) voted against the enactment of the individual mandate tax.

Gov. Gavin Newsom voiced his support of the individual mandate upon taking office in January, a likely indication he will sign Senate Bill 78.

Currently, four other jurisdictions have individual mandate tax penalties on the books in light of the Federal repeal: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

If authorized by Gov. Newsom, California’s individual mandate would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.