HUM/111 Critical and Creative Thinking
July 8, 2012 Christopher Boyer
Chief Justice John Roberts stated that is was a tax, however, the debate continues on how to clarify The “Affordable Care Act”. The debate as well as the country is divided on how the law will proceed, and the language used to define it, will shape the 2012 Presidential election.
On June 28, 2012 The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obama Care”. The decision stated that as long as the individual mandate is a tax, then congress has the power and authority to levy it. The word “tax” or the word “penalty” may seem like semantics in the large scheme of things; however these two words are at the very core of the debate. A tax, for the most part is a sum of money demanded by the government for its support, or for specific facilities or services. A tax is not voluntary; it is levied upon incomes, property, sales etc. A penalty is a punishment established by law or authority for such things as crime, offenses, or failure to do something. The Four Supreme Court Justices that hold the dissent feel that the government imposing a penalty on American citizens who chooses not to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. The four justices that were in favor of “Obama care” believe that the government has the power to impose a penalty on those who do not purchase health insurance. The deciding vote came down to Chief Justice John Roberts. The interesting part of his decision is that he agrees with the dissent, that the government does not have the power to impose a penalty; however they do have the power to levy taxes. Body2:
Roberts’s decision goes directly to the heart of the controversy, because for two years the Obama administration clearly stated that this was not a tax. The Solicitor General, the person in charge of making their case to the court, argued both scenarios. He asked the court to consider both a tax and a penalty. Justice Thomas wrote in his dissent that the “tax” argument was “feeble” and that it lacked merit, but Robert’s chose to accept that argument.
The question is now which one is it? If people accept Robert’s decision, then are they now saying that this is a tax? If they reject Robert’s decision, and believe that a penalty is constitutional then how do they accept that the deciding vote contradicts them? The Obama administration still is hesitant to call it a tax, so are they accepting a victory, and stating that Roberts is wrong at the same time.
The debate now moves to what will happen next. Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal “Obama care” if elected president. The fact that Mitt Romney presided over “Romney care” in Massachusetts does not sit well with a lot of conservatives, and the Obama campaign brings this fact up often, however there are a few differences between what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts and the current health care bill. Individual states have different regulations then the Federal government, but I personally think that the individual mandate hurt the state of Massachusetts and that it will also be difficult to succeed on a federal level also.
The harshest critics of the law now believe that precedence has now been set, and if the federal government can make individual citizens purchase a private product or service, that it will not stop at health care. They believe that any pundit can now make the argument that you must purchase “whatever “because it is in the best interest or “general welfare” of the people. The Obama administration often uses the example of the state forcing consumers to buy auto insurance, however that is one of many bad analogies. A consumer only has to purchase auto insurance as a condition for owning...