Well, you heard it from the Supreme Court – it’s a tax. Of course, you didn’t hear it from Obama (“it’s not a tax“), or from his administration. We almost heard it from former Speaker of the House (“it’s a ta… penalty“), but she corrected herself. Now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been upheld and reclassified as a tax, what does it mean for the taxpayers?
Nothing. The damage was done in 2010 when the bill passed. There were slivers of hope in the minds of right wingers and fiscally conservative lefties that the Supreme Court of United States would come to America’s rescue and declare the law to be unconstitutional, but sadly they were misguided. The most controversial part of the bill – the individual mandate – was also the least expensive for US taxpayers. In reality, most responsible Americans already have health insurance and those who don’t are likely below the income limit for the penalty (errr, tax). The largest segment of the population that doesn’t have health insurance and actually earns enough to be affected by the penalty are those who can’t afford it but earn just enough not to get subsidies. This bill does nothing to provide them with health insurance other than to provide them with a token discount on their premiums.
The most expensive provisions, including subsidized insurance premiums, extended coverage until the age of 27, and zero co-pay preventative health services were never in question. It is these programs that drastically increase the costs of existing insurance plans and raise taxes on everyone, and few doubted their constitutionality. So, sorry America – you’re going to have to fix this one with your votes in the fall.