White House stands by position that health law mandate isn't a tax
The White House is standing by its position that individual mandate
in President Obama's healthcare law is a penalty despite the Supreme
Court's decision to uphold it as a tax.
White House spokesman Jay
Carney told reporters traveling with Obama on Friday that the mandate
enforces a penalty, not a tax, because people have a choice whether
to obtain health insurance.
"You can call it what you will, but if
affects 1 percent" of the population, Carney said, according to a White
House pool report.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority
opinion Thursday that the healthcare law “imposes a tax citizens may
lawfully choose to pay in lieu of buying health insurance.” In doing so,
he embraced the government's fallback legal argument, which was that
the mandate is constitutional under Congress's taxing powers.
have seized on the ruling to argue that Obama misled the public by
arguing during the healthcare debate that the mandate is not a tax. He
and congressional Democrats strongly disputed the charge that the
mandate would raise taxes during the bitter debate before the law was
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed to the
court's ruling on the mandate to argue that the healthcare law was
passed "on a deception."
The mandate requires most taxpayers to either buy insurance or make a payment to the IRS starting in 2014.
Gruber, a healthcare economist who helped design Obama’s healthcare
overhaul, made the same point as Carney on a conference call with
“It’s not a tax on the middle class,” Gruber said. “It’s a choice they’re making.”
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