With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), saying that the individual mandate is constitutional because of the federal government’s taxing ability, Republicans are saying that the President Obama and Democrats have broken their promise to not raise taxes on the middle class. Democrats have responded with, basically, “We’re doing the same thing Mitt Romney did.”
The Congressional Budget Office says that the individual mandate, which again was proposed by Republicans as an alternative to the much preferred public option, is estimated as affecting a little more than one percent of the entire US population, which is those who can buy healthcare but refuse to, in which case they will be fined for it. According to the Washington Post, “When the individual mandate is fully phased-in, those who can afford coverage — which is defined as insurance costing less than 8 percent of their annual income — but choose to forgo it will have to pay either $695 or 2.5 percent of the annual income, whichever is greater.”
In a 2009 op-ed for the for USA Today, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney wrote, “Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.” Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential Candidate, was at the forefront of the idea for an individual mandate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during an interview on Meet The Press, “The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance, figuring they won’t be sick and if they do, other people will have to cover it. So these free riders — as they were identified by Governor Romney himself, he said that people who have the ability to pay and don’t can’t expect to be free riders. And I think he had it exactly right.”
However, we would not even be fighting over the individual mandate the Republicans hate so much if Republicans had not proposed it and done away with the public option supported by President Obama, and we would not be fighting over people having to pay penalties for not having health insurance if we had a single-payer system where everyone was guaranteed healthcare. That would be socialism though, and we can’t have that. I don’t even know what that is, but Sean Hannity tells me that it’s bad.
Republicans keep spreading lies and misinformation about the Affordable Care Act, because they know that is the only way to get rid of it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News that the Supreme Court has “unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats, constantly denying that it was a tax.” They denied it being a tax, because it is not a tax. It is a penalty. Even their own presidential candidate once said that, but of course Mitt Romney will flip-flop and say something else in order to beat President Obama come the Fall.