Obamacare: It’s a Tax

By Barrett Duke
Jul 2, 2012

Well, the Supreme Court did the unexpected. In a 5-4 decision that had Chief justice John Roberts siding with the liberal wing, the Court upheld the individual mandate requiring every American to have government-approved health insurance.

Listen to this commentary here.

For some time many of us thought the Court would strike down the individual mandate as an unconstitutional abuse of the Commerce Clause. This they did by a 5-4 decision.

But the Obama administration also argued before the Court that the mandate could be considered a tax. And by that same 5-4 decision they upheld the individual mandate based on the understanding that it is–indeed–a tax. So, liberals in congress and our president have heaped a massive tax increase on Americans.

Chief Justice Roberts went out of his way in his opinion on the case to explain why this is indeed a tax. He concluded “the requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax.”

There you have it. The president who said he would not add any tax burden to people making less than $250,000 a year argued that the individual mandate is a tax, and the Supreme Court agreed!

We should all be outraged by the Obama administration’s gall. They pass a law by arguing it’s not a tax, then they argue before the Supreme Court that it IS a tax. What is more, the law burdens people who can least afford to pay any more taxes. Let’s face it, most people would be happy to have health insurance if they could afford it. They can’t. Now they will have an even heavier economic burden placed on them when they are fined, or “taxed,” as much as $2,000 for failing to have government-approved health insurance.

It is disturbing that the Court felt that the Constitution empowered congress to force citizens to pay for a product they don’t want or can’t afford. But that is exactly what they did. The precedent is now set for congress to take upon itself the authority to force all Americans to engage in any activity it desires.

What is more, none of the other very distressing aspects of this massive governmental intrusion in American life are resolved. Many will still be required to pay into a separate abortion fund as part of their healthcare premiums. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate remains. With a small exception for some very narrowly-defined religious groups, ALL insurance plans will be required to provide contraceptives and abortion causing drugs and devices. This means that most religious institutions will be forced to include contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs and devices in insurance plans they offer to their employees. This includes any group that serves the public, like faith-based schools and colleges, child-care centers, even pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

If Congress and the president are really serious about protecting the American people from tax increases, they will immediately repeal Obamacare. And if they care anything at all for religious liberty and freedom of conscience, they will immediately repeal Obamacare. I hope you will call your representatives today and urge them to begin that process immediately.

Listen to this commentary here.

Dr. Barrett Duke is Vice President for Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and also serves as Director of the Commission’s Research Institute of the ERLC. Read more of his work here. He is also a regular contributor to the For Faith and Family radio broadcast.

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