Looks like all the haters of “ObamaCare” were right. The bill levies a tax on people who fail to maintain “minimum essential coverage” by 2014, according to briefs filed by the Department of Justice.
Well, yeah. What did you expect? That the U.S. government would start an open-ended commitment to an expensive endeavor without budgeting how to pay for it? These are Democrats, after all.
Maybe if we called it the “War On Disease,” we’d be able to just pay for health care in “emergency supplemental appropriations.”
In four years time, all Americans will have to pay into some kind of minimum health care coverage, and those who fall under a certain threshold will receive tax credits to compensate. Those who fail to purchase any kind of health coverage will pay a “penalty.”
Is it unconstitutional? Almost certainly. But Congress and the executive branch have been passing unconstitutional laws for almost a century now with impunity, so that’s nothing new.
Two things about the minimum mandated coverage outlined in the 2009 Health Care Bill are particularly troubling, aside from the federalism argument above. The first is the decision that, to avoid the single-payer model, the health care bill bent over backward to make sure everyone paid for health care, but to insurers, not the government. This transforms the federal government into a de facto police dog for the insurance industry.
The shame of the retreat from single-payer is that Democrats ended up passing health care reform almost unilaterally anyway, so aside from a few “blue dogs,” single-payer health care might have had a fighting chance, had not the ever-compromising Barack Obama rejected the idea. Because now the system requires universal involvement, but rather than paying the government, citizens are requirement to pay someone else, and if they can’t, ask the government to subsidize it.
This obsequious worship of the free market in health care has some loose parallels to the “Too Big To Fail” financial institutions, in that rather than letting broken systems break, we’ve propped them up: in one case, by loaning money for nothing; in the other, by sending them tens of millions of new customers.
It’s not so much the health care tax that’s frustrating, it’s the fact that I’m paying the tax to the health care provider, and not to the government. Now that sucks; especially because the DOJ report explicitly states that it is a “valid exercise” of the Congress’ “power to lay and collect taxes,” “even for purposes that would exceed its powers under other provisions” of the Constitution, because it’s “conducive to the general welfare.”
The bastards are “laying taxes” but not for the people, for the insurers.
But again, the irritation isn’t only because the government has gotten in the business of enforcing taxes for private companies, but because the reform bill’s cheerleader-in-chief said repeatedly, on camera, that the health care minimum mandate was not a tax.
“I absolutely reject that notion,” said Obama, when asked if the mandate was a tax increase by George Stephanopoulos in an interview September of last year. Stephanopoulos even referred to the dictionary definition of a tax, and Obama laughed it off.
The argument then was that the failure to pay for your own health care was a “penalty,” not a “tax.” Either way, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it’s going to raise $4 billion a year, whatever it’s called, by 2017.
What did you expect? Bastards.