‘Obamacare’ individual mandate has no teeth

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If, like most real estate professionals, you're self-employed, you have to obtain your own health insurance unless you can obtain coverage through a spouse. Lots of self-employed people have no health coverage because they can't afford it. Starting in 2014, these people will run up against the most controversial portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") -- the individual health insurance mandate. This is the requirement that most legal residents of the United States obtain at least minimal health insurance coverage by 2014. The word "mandate" sounds pretty serious. But what will actually happen if you don't obtain health insurance by 2014? Surprisingly little. The health care law says that individuals who can afford health insurance coverage and are not otherwise exempt must purchase minimum essential health coverage or pay a penalty to the IRS with their tax returns. The assessment of this penalty is the only consequence of not obeying...