Sure, they could change all of this later, but her point that this is choice in how you file your taxes is valid -- you choose to have insurance or (optionally) pay the penalty.
Oh, and I forgot to mention it also violates equal protection and perhaps the establishment clause by exempting the Amish, but not allowing me to be exempted for my religious beliefs.
It actually exempts anyone classified under 1402(g)(1). So, yes the Amish are included since they are the most well known. But if you want to file the paperwork and go through the process of getting your religious beliefs recognized, you too can be exempted from paying into Social Security, Medicare, or paying a penalty for not proving that you carry health insurance.
Oh I'm right
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
Basically, it'll show up on your 1040 as part of your total tax due, and the IRS isn't going to give you a refund on the amount you "overpaid" if you would otherwise choose not to pay that portion of your taxes. But if you owe money on April 15th, you can safely knock that fee right off the top.
They only thing that really seems mandatory is telling the government whether or not you had health insurance.
If an individual chooses not to get insurance, he'll receive a letter from the IRS telling him that he owes a penalty. If he ignores that letter, they'll send him another. There is no criminal penalty and the IRS is not allowed to garnish wages or lien property or charge any additional fees if the fee in any given tax year is not paid.
I'd love to be "FORCED" to pay all of my taxes this way.
... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"