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If the IRS were to really go after people who did not buy coverage this year, it would create yet more bad publicity just as the Obama administration is recovering from the flawed rollout of the federal exchange website that is handling enrollment for 36 states this year.
“Because things were slow to get put into place, it’s likely they’d take a lighter approach to enforcement at first,” said Gary Claxton, vice president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The evidence won’t be as clear and the penalties are lower than in later years.”
In addition, administration officials seem to be aware that many taxpayers are still learning the details of the law.
“It’s not about getting the money,” said Claxton. “It’s about getting people’s attention.”