The answer: from those receiving the subsidies in the first place. Thus the business community got what it wanted, and the burdens and complexity were heaped on the uninsured.

It’s too bad the AP didn’t report any of this, since the tale of the clawback may have foretold future government give-backs and alterations to the health reform law. The law also calls for tax on insurance companies intended to raise some $87 billion over 10 years to help finance the subsidies. Businesses, especially small ones, despise the tax believing that it will simply be passed on to them in the form of higher premiums. Their trade association, the National Association of Independent Business, has teamed up with the insurers in a campaign to get Congress to repeal the levy; that campaign has also used the press to pass along its message. Given the insurance industry’s success in wresting more money from the government for Medicare Advantage plans, it’s possible the tax will disappear just like the reporting requirements did.

If that happens, it’s fair to ask: who will pay for the subsidies? With people signing up for coverage in six months, this unfolding story is one to watch.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from this author and the rest of the United States Project team.

Related content:

How an anti-tax HIT squad employs the press

The insurance industry wins a big one

Medicare Uncovered: the insurers’ latest campaign

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.