Is The Mandate a Tax?
"There’s a technical and a subjective answer. The technical answer is yes. The Court found that, by requiring people to either buy insurance or pay money to the IRS, the mandate functions like a tax, and is thus a valid exercise of the taxing power.
'The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,' the controlling opinion reads. 'Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.'
But the taxing power also justifies other Obama-era measures like his 2009 cigarette tax — an incentive for people to quit smoking — and only the most fervent anti-tax activists characterize that as a 'tax increase on the American people' or the middle class.
The mandate is even less direct than the cigarette, and both the Court and Democrats have been clear that the intent is not to raise revenue by raising people’s taxes, but to provide people an incentive to buy subsidized health insurance. In other words, unlike income and payroll taxes, it’s a penalty.
And indeed, the Court relied on this more subjective understanding of the mandate’s intent in deciding to rule on the merits of the case at all. A 19th century law called the Anti-Injunction Act protects the government from challenges to taxes that have yet to be assessed. But even though the mandate doesn’t take effect until 2014 — and even though the majority declared it a valid use of the taxing power — they held that the Anti-Injunction Act did not apply.
The Anti-Injunction Act applies to suits 'for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax,' the Court determined. 'Congress, however, chose to describe the ‘[s]hared responsibility payment’ imposed on those who forgo health insurance not as a ‘tax,’ but as a ‘penalty.’ … There is no immediate reason to think that a statute applying to ‘any tax’ would apply to a ‘penalty.’ Congress’s decision to label this exaction a ‘penalty’ rather than a ‘tax’ is significant because the Affordable Care Act describes many other exactions it creates as taxes.'
Intent matters. And the Court essentially held that the law’s authors created something that functions like a tax, but serves the purposes of a penalty."
"The health insurance mandate upheld today by the Supreme Court will impact roughly 26 million Americans, or 8 percent of the population, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute and an independent analysis by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who advised both Mitt Romney and President Obama on health care law.
Those individuals will be required to obtain coverage or pay a fine starting in 2014.
Not everyone will be forced to pay out of pocket, however. Here’s how it breaks down – courtesy of the Urban Institute:
– 8.1 million will be eligible for free/close-to-free insurance through expansion of Medicaid under the law.
– 10.9 million will have to purchase coverage but receive subsidies to help with premiums
– 7.3 million (2 percent of population) will not be eligible for any assistance and will simply have to buy a plan or pay the penalty.
Look at it the other way, the mandate will not directly impact most Americans. Two hundred fifty million out of 268 million non-elderly folks, or 94 percent, of Americans already have insurance coverage through an employer or the government and don’t face the penalty or having to buy a new plan." ---ABC News
"...the ruling is both a political and a constitutional landmark. It bestows a measure of validation on President Obama's legislative achievement after two years of relentless attacks and casts a new light on Chief Justice Roberts—a George W. Bush appointee whom some Democrats had pegged as a Republican partisan—reaching across the ideological divide even while reinforcing some long-standing conservative principles." --Wall Street Journal
Who's Exempt From the 2014 Mandate?
The mandate is not a tax on the middle class or anyone else who is responsible and has health insurance coverage. It is a tax penalty for those who act irresponsibly and do not purchase health insurance and use the emergency room of a hospital while everyone pays for that service. Those who cannot afford coverage will receive help.
I thought conservatives were for individual responsibility. This forces people to be responsible and not pass the onus of providing health care to people who do the responsible thing and obtain health coverage.
Here are a couple of observations by the loyal opposition. The apocalypic language these two characters use illustrates the extent of their infantile colic in extremis, not the end of America.
"This is the greatest destruction of individual liberty since Dred Scott. This is the end of America as we know it. No exaggeration."
— benshapiro (@benshapiro) June 28, 2012
Yeah, right ben. No exaggeration.
"Republican from Indiana Mike Pence, a gubernatorial candidate, “likened the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Democratic health care law to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to several sources present” reported Politico. In other words, it was an act of terrorism and ranked up there with killing several thousand people."
Really. They need to go to a quiet room and suck on a binky.
Michael Savage, a much admired conservative radio hate jockey had this to say today about Chief Justice Roberts:
"Let's talk about Roberts," Savage said. "I'm going to tell you something that you're not gonna hear anywhere else, that you must pay attention to. It's well known that Roberts, unfortunately for him, has suffered from epileptic seizures. Therefore he has been on medication. Therefore neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts' writings you can see the cognitive disassociation (sic) in what he is saying..."
We can always count on Savage to say the most jaw-dropping, cringe-inducing moronic rant. But today, the darling of the conservatives outdid himself by mocking the Chief Justice's illness and suggesting he's lost his mental abilities. Because in the oatmeal gruel that passes for his brain, that's the only reason for Roberts' decision.
Andrew Breitbart would have been so proud. This is the sort of political discourse he loved.
Question: Has Bill O'Reilly apologized yet for being an idiot?
O’Reilly predicted that the law would be struck down: “It’s going to be five-to-four. And, if I’m wrong, I will come on and I will… apologize for being an idiot.”