Today was a landmark day in the US – unfortunately it wasn’t the one I was hoping for. The Supreme Court of the US decided that the Obamacare individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a fine was unconstitutional under the commerce clause… BUT somehow simultaneously legal when considered under the rights of Congress to impose taxes.
Yes, we so love when things are only somewhat legal.
I suppose I should have expected the SCOTUS to determine it to be a tax. I do support the ability of Congress to create taxes – it is within their purview. The thing is (and the President is keenly aware of this) that it would NEVER have passed Congress if it had been ‘pitched’ as a $500 billion tax. Now I remember the hearings, and all of those SCOTUS judges who were so concerned about making decisions that were better made by Congress… so what happened here? How about they let Congress go back and decide if this is something they would have passed as a tax instead of ruling it a tax and keeping it anyway?
Now wait wait, it can’t have been a tax right? I mean, that’s what the President said over and over right? Yes, well, apparently he was perfectly comfortable with blatant lies because the White House attorney sold the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate to SCOTUS on the basis that it was a tax. Lovely. I’d like the President to come out and apologize for intentionally and repeatedly lying to the American public about whether or not it was a tax. Not that it will ever happen, heaven forbid anyone do the right thing here.
Oh but well, this is going to help the very poor right? Erm.. not so much, since one of the things that was going to help them was the requirement for states to triple the amount of Medicaid funding they had… and well the SCOTUS DID rule that part was unconstitutional. So, if you’re too poor to afford insurance, and your state is too tapped out to add you on Medicaid.. well, guess you’re going to have to have to pay your almost $700 minimum fine (per person) or face Federal charges for tax evasion. And we all know how free the IRS has it when it comes to collecting money owed them, like sequestering paychecks and seizing property.
People should be worried when every single SCOTUS judge expressed some concern in their written opinions about how far reaching this law was.
Like the opinions about how concerning it is to tax something which is a behavior, when previous income taxes were just that – based on income. So what happens when they decide on another behavior they think it irresponsible and this precedent has been set? How about when someone says that being obese is an irresponsible behavior and they decide to tax people who don’t keep their weight in a normal range? Or how about not taking vitamins, do we need a penalty if we don’t take them? Or maybe they’ll determine that people who don’t exercise regularly are being irresponsible with their health and start taxing those behaviors? So where does this go in the future, do accountants need to have you stand on a scale and turn in a pedometer with annual readings in order to do your income taxes somewhere down the line?
I have enough problems with this before we even get to the religious freedom part about how it is going to force businesses to pay for insurance which provides abortifacient birth control and morning after pills, sterilization, and more … with no recourse to conscientiously object without either getting a massive governmental fine or having to stop providing insurance entirely.
Where, oh where, is my country going?