June 28th, 2012,
With its decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama’s health care law, the U.S. Supreme Court rationalized that the government cannot force Americans to buy health insurance, but it can tax them if they do not. The Court’s majority opinion ratifies a policy that fundamentally changes the relationship between government and the individual.
The 5-4 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. The chief justice joined the court’s four liberals.
Article Tab: An opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care law demonstrates outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012, before the court’s ruling on the law.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” the majority said. “Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
You may recall that during debate on the Affordable Care Act in 2010, defenders of the bill, from President Obama to Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, denied that the individual mandate amounted to a tax. Now, the Supreme Court majority has decided retroactively that it is a tax.