During the 2009 debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama insisted that the law’s “shared responsibility payment,” assessed on Americans who fail to obtain government-approved medical coverage, is not a tax. “I absolutely reject that notion,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that September. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.”
Testifying before Congress 15 Feb 2012, President Obama’s acting budget director Jeffrey Zients directly undercut one of the administration’s key legal defenses of its national health care law as it nears a hearing before the Supreme Court. In a hearing of the House Budget Committee Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., pressed Zients on whether the penalty that the health care law imposes on individuals who do not purchase health insurance constitutes a tax. Eventually, Zients said it did not.
We were repeatedly told this wasn’t a tax. Leftists and the complicit media scoffed as people like Sarah Palin stated that it was a tax. Over and over again, we were told this wasn’t a tax. This allowed Obama to say he’s kept his pledge not to raise taxes on people making under $200,000/yr. They also told us that this was all perfectly legitimate via the Commerce Clause. To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) So, what do we get today?
The ruling relied on a technical explanation of how the individual mandate could be categorized. Roberts, in the opinion, said the mandate could not be upheld under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. However, it could be upheld under the government’s power to tax.
“The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause,” Roberts wrote. “That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”
Read more: here.
I vehemently disagree with Justice Roberts. It is not reasonable to construe that Congress increased taxes, or that was their intentions. We, the people, were specifically told it was not. And, this was the only way it could have been passed as a law! What sort of jackwagon says its reasonable to assume a huge mandate was passed by deception and then upholds the intentional deception? If congress wanted to pay for this by adding a tax they should have plainly stated as such. Now, apparently, our supreme court not only interprets written law, they are performing a mind-reading act. And divining intent when all that was necessary was to simply put in writing the actual intent.
But, this is much worse than simply that. If we are to understand Roberts correctly, the federal government can then force all of its citizens to purchase whatever they deem proper for us and then simply call it a tax and this holds now under judicial precedence! Let’s carry this to the extreme. For our safety and health, we should all purchase a cell phone with the 911 GPS tracker in them. We’ll pool the money so we can call this a tax. What is to prevent the U.S. government from mandating such?
The four dissenters stated,
In their dissent, Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito describe the Affordable Care Act as a “massive state-administered federal welfare program,” and argue that the decision should have been a no-brainer:
What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power—upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to compel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.
And they wanted the whole law invalidated — every bit of it.
The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying nonconsenting States all Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.
The majority’s decision, “creates a debilitated, inoperable version of health-care regulation that Congress did not enact and the public does not expect. It makes enactment of sensible health-care regulation more difficult, since Congress cannot start afresh but must take as its point of departure a jumble of now senseless provisions, provisions that certain interests favored under the Court’s new design will struggle to retain. And it leaves the public and the States to expend vast sums of money on requirements that may or may not survive the necessary congressional revision.”
This sets as a fine example of how far we’ve fallen as a free society. We’ve much work to do.