Even though President Obama insisted that the healthcare bill drafted by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was “not a tax” during the run-up to passage of what is now known as Obamacare, his own attorneys argued that the individual mandate was merely a tax before the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court has now ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that the individual mandate is considered a tax and is therefore Constitutional. All this, after Obama himself claimed in an ABC News interview that the Baucus bill was not a tax:
President Obama signaled in our interview that he was prepared to address some of the concerns raised by key Senator Jay Rockefeller, who called the Baucus bill a “big middle class tax increase” this week.
But in our most spirited exchange, the President refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy health insurance is equivalent to a tax.
However, in light of the court’s ruling, don’t expect the political problems facing Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to fade in the aftermath of this ruling.
If Tester and Baucus were hit before for supporting an unConstitutional mandate that has driven up health care premiums, now they can instead be hit for hiking taxes on the middle class.
As Carl Graham with the Montana Policy Institute notes:
Today’s US Supreme Court decision redefining the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance mandate as a tax effectively confirms that the Act is actually a $700 billion tax increase on Americans, most of which will be borne by the middle class. Combined with nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts, and as much as $155 million dollars in increased state Medicaid costs, this Act will drive up the cost of healthcare and make it impossible to honor the promises we’ve made to our seniors and those in need.
The ruling also seems to give fresh enthusiasm to the GOP base and the Tea Party movement ahead of the November elections. Almost immediately after the ruling was announced, Eric Olsen with the Billings-based Montana Shrugged Tea Party group said via Twitter,”America needs to vote conservative this fall to give Congress and President power to repeal Obamacare.”