PUH_LEASE! Nonsensical Tax Attacks Re SCOTUS ACA Decision

June 28th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Conservatives are apparently in full whine over what they’re calling a new tax coming out of the SCOTUS health care decision this AM.

As we now know, the SCOTUS declared that a penalty for refusing to purchase health insurance is permissible as a tax, in essence, approving the mandate by another name.  Predictably, that wording has led to silliness of this sort:

Grover Norquist: “Now that we recognize that the mandate is only constitutional because it is a tax, it’s now clear that ‘Obamacare’ is all about taxes and it hits everybody, not just rich people.”

Sarah Palin: “Obama lied to the American people. Again,” tweeted Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor. “He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.”

Gov Romney: “Obamacare raises taxes on the American people…” [this one’s unbearably ironic given that RomneyCare in MA has a mandate penalty as well…I know…whatever]

As my 12-year old would say: Really??  Seriously??!!

First of all, we’re talking personal responsibility here.  If you don’t have insurance and you get treatment for your illness, that’s uncompensated care, which I’ll pay for.  And that is a tax you’re imposing on me and the other 84% of insured Americans.  I thought conservatives were all about personal responsibility.

Second, according to these analyses, between 1- 2% of the population will face this penalty.  D’s from the Ways and Means Committee explain why:

The vast majority of Americans will never have to pay a penalty. The law anticipates that most people will have access to affordable health care through an employer, the Exchange or a public program and will take advantage of the opportunity to obtain or maintain such coverage.  In addition, there are three key exceptions to the penalty:

  • Those who are uninsured because their coverage is unaffordable
  • Those who are uninsured and do not file taxes because their incomes are too low
  • Those who would encounter “hardship” by paying the penalty”

Third, note that the anti-tax shouters are conveniently ignoring all the tax benefits in the ACA, like the credits to help people buy insurance.  According to CBO, they outpace the penalties by more than a factor of 10 ($686 billion versus $55 billion)!

In essence, Norquist/Palin et al are advocating for a tiny group of free riders to impose higher insurance premiums on the rest of us, while ignoring billions of tax benefits in the ACA—which remains, I’m very happy to say: the law of the land!

Is it too much to ask these guys and gals to suck it up, recognize that the ACA is the legitimate health care reform program passed by a democratically elected government, and stop trying to block it? 

OK, that’s a rhetorical question.  But I still think it’s a good one.

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8 comments in reply to "PUH_LEASE! Nonsensical Tax Attacks Re SCOTUS ACA Decision"

  1. davesnyd says:

    But I thought Republicans liked to increase taxes on people below the top 20% brackets?

  2. progrowth liberal says:

    Jared – thanks for this very well done rebuttal!

  3. progrowth liberal says:

    Update as I listen to the CBS Morning Show. Romney claims this is $500 billion tax increase, which got Sarah Palin rolling as she changed the claim to a $1 trillion tax increase. CBS reporter comes back telling us how many millions of Americans will pay the penalty – 4 million. In other words, 1.3% of the population … like you said!

  4. Ellis says:

    I guess the health insurance companies wrote a fantastic bill. Yes, the two presidential candidates each pushed through similar laws to profit the medical industrial complex. That makes Obama and Romney twins. Oh, and by the way, just because you pay for insurance, you are not guaranteed actual medical care. That’s the beauty of it.

  5. Don Levit says:

    The payments are not taxes, in my opinion.
    Social Security passed constitutional muster, primarily because the payments were deemed taxes, for the general welfare.
    The money went into the Treasury’s general fund, like all other taxes.
    And, no citizen could tie his benefits to his specific contributions, thus a tax for the “general welfare.”
    Here, the “taxes” may go to the Treasury’s general fund, but that is merely a convenient conduit to provide the subsidies to the for-profit insurers for their expensive health insurance.
    Yes, the citizens can then but health insurance, but the first beneficiary is the for-profit insurers. Their direct cut from the “taxes” would never have materialized except for the “taxes.”
    Don Levit

  6. save_the_rustbelt says:

    PPACA will fail because it is too complicated and convoluted to implement in any orderly manner.

  7. Misaki says:

    >If you don’t have insurance and you get treatment for your illness, that’s uncompensated care, which I’ll pay for.

    Hospitals will generally bill the recipient of the health care. When the costs cannot be recovered, then yes, states do pay some of the costs for things like unpaid emergency room bills.