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Americans who don't have health insurance could be fined thousands of dollars under a Congress proposal that circled the Hill Tuesday, announced just one day before President Obama is set to speak to a joint Congress session about health care reform.
The proposal would contain a requirement that all Americans get health insurance. Penalties for not having insurance would start at $750 a year for individuals and $1,500 for families, and households at more than three times the poverty level -- about $66,000 -- would face the maximum fines, up to $3,800 a year.
Obama said during the Democratic primaries that he wouldn't establish health insurance requirements -- or fining people for not having it. "Punishing families who can't afford health care to begin with just doesn't make sense," he said.
The proposal, put on the table by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would include a clause that could offer tax credits to help pay premiums on health insurance.
Read more: The Associated Press