So is it a Tax?

When Democrats this spring were hard at work trying to get their health care reform bill passed through Congress, they denied high and low that the penalty Americans would be subject to under the bill’s insurance mandate was anything like a tax.

Health care reform will force Americans to have “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” said the president last September on ABC’s This Week. But now, The New York Times reports that his administration is defending its blatantly unlawful mandate in court as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

Many states are fighting the health care bill because they argue that the Federal Government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries by making them party to its assault on individual rights.

Under the Constitution, Congress can exercise its taxing power to provide for the “general welfare.” No doubt that’s exactly how proponents of this bill will defend it for insuring all Americans serves their welfare, no? But just as Democrats lied when they promised that health care reform did not mean more taxes, that argument is false.

Health care in the United States is in such a dire state because of government interference in the first place, notably due to the massive entitlement programs that are Medicare and Medicaid, due to government price controls, regulations and fiscally incentivized employer-based insurance schemes, all of which drive up costs at the expense of the average consumer. Yet we are to believe that even more government involvement will somehow make things better? There’s ample evidence to the contrary! Countries with freer health insurance markets deliver more affordable care but wherever government insists on providing for the “general welfare,” prices skyrocket and quality declines. This will also happen in the United States as soon as ObamaCare is fully enacted.