July 1, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Conservatives Waste No Time Advertising Health Care Individual Mandate As A Tax
The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and in doing so declared the individual mandate provision a tax. Well duh. It might have been called a penalty or fee but it’s to be collected by the Internal Revenue Service as part of your income tax filing, so hence, it’s a tax.
Now that the individual mandate has the legitimacy of being called a tax due to the Supreme Court ruling, conservative groups have wasted no time releasing political commercials, web ads and getting their talking points in order on political talk shows. This is because “tax” is now a bad word in America. We can’t even talk about it anymore without it being an attack. The Obama administration was so afraid of the word “tax” that they chose to defend the individual mandate under the “commerce clause” on the grounds that congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. Surprising to all (left and right), it took conservative Chief Justice John Roberts to defend the individual mandate for what it is, a tax.
If you’ve watched any TV lately, particularly “news” channels you’ve probably seen the political ads from conservative groups jumping on this issue to “inform” the public that the individual mandate is (in their words) “the largest middle class tax increase in American history.” Well, I’m not fact-checking this claim in this article, but when claims like this are made, especially by the Right, it’s usually bullshit. In this case it really has a strong odor of manure since the individual mandate only affects a small percentage of the population. After you remove Americans who get their health insurance through their employer, through Medicare or Medicaid, you are left with a small amount of Americans who (if they don’t buy insurance) would be subjected to this new ‘tax’.
Even if we took their word for it and accept that the individual mandate is the largest middle class tax increase in American history, it turns out to also be one of the most sensible tax increases in American history since it’s purpose is to get everyone to pay into health care insurance in this country. No freeloaders allowed. This should be celebrated by conservatives and Republicans (hell, it was their idea in the first place) but instead they took it all the way to the Supreme Court. But in the end, they lost.