Reading through the blogs and articles written by the American Left today, you might be lead to believe we’ve all just been blessed with FREE HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE. But do not be fooled: The Court’s ruling leaves in place 21 tax increases in the health-care law costing more than $675 billion over the next 10 years, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. Of those, 12 tax hikes would affect families earning less than $250,000 per year, the panel said. Including a “Cadillac tax” on high-cost insurance plans, a tax on insurance providers and an excise tax on medical device manufacturers.
But didn’t President Obama tell us in no uncertain terms that Obamacare was NOT a tax?
In a September 20th, 2009 Presidential interview on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Stephanopoulos said, “Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money and fining them if they don’t. How is that not a tax increase?”
OBAMA: No, tha-tha-that’s not true, George. Eh, for us to say that you’ve gotta take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is is that we’re not gonna have other people carrying your burdens for you, any more than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, “That is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.”
STEPHANOPOULIS then said, “Well, it may be fair, and it may be good public policy, but for you to say that this isn’t a tax. This just…”
OBAMA: No, no. B-b-but George y-y-y-you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Tax: A charge, usually of money, imposed by authority —
STEPHANOPOULOS: — on persons or property for public purposes.”
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Miriam’s dictionary (sic), the definition of tax increase indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise you wouldn’ta gone to the dictionary to check on the definition! I mean —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no.
OBAMA: If — if what you’re saying is —
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself, but your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything’s a tax increase! My critics say that I’m taking over, uhh, every sector of the economy. You know that! Uh, eh, eh… Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re gonna have an individual mandate or not but —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
“As for the Medicaid expansion, that portion of the Affordable Care Act violates the Constitution by threatening existing Medicaid funding,” Roberts wrote. “Congress has no authority to order the States to regulate according to its instructions. Congress may offer the States grants and require the States to comply with accompanying conditions, but the States must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer. The States are given no such choice in this case: They must either accept a basic change in the nature of Medicaid, or risk losing all Medicaid funding. The remedy for that constitutional violation is to preclude the Federal Government from imposing such a sanction.”
For their part, the Constitutionalist dissenters on the Court were not impressed with Roberts’ parsing of the law. “The Court regards its strained statutory interpretation as judicial modesty. It is not. It amounts instead to a vast judicial overreaching,” wrote the four other conservatives.
On Medicaid expansion, the court upheld the expansion but with a critical caveat: The federal government may not threaten the states that don’t comply with the loss of their existing funding. Essentially, the Medicaid expansion is now optional for the states.
- ABC: Obama: Mandate is Not a Tax – 09.20.09
- Washington Post: Individual Mandate Upheld as Tax: Supreme Court Updates
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Obamacare Upheld – As the Tax Obama Promised Us It Wasn’t
- Washington Post: Supreme Court Upholds Obama’s Health-Care Law
- New York Times: Supreme Court Health Care Decision