Bill McGurn highlights their murky connection:
The original House bill opened the door for criminal sanctions against Americans who didn’t buy health insurance and pay the penalty. The Senate bill did the same until Sen. John Ensign (R., Nev.) successfully pushed to amend the bill. Even so, the final language begs the question that Mr. Shulman and Mr. Weiner avoided: Who’s going to enforce the mandate, and how?
. . . we are left with one of two possibilities. The first is that the penalty for not having “minimal essential coverage” is fully enforced, in which case Americans of relatively modest means will get a lesson in how the government deals with people who don’t pay up.
Or the penalty for violating the individual mandate will become like the fines for not filling out your Census form. In other words, unenforced. In that case, the costs of this legislation will be even higher and more hidden than we have been led to believe.