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The mandate is a statist control to balance other statist laws. Today, taxpayers foot the bill for the uninsured. The mandate means that some of the uninsured will have to pay at least a portion. Of course, some people will have to pay who rationally do not want to be insured, but these laws paint with a broad brush. Striking down the mandate would have been a means to the end: killing the law itself.

The essential direction we need to move is: individual choice. We've been moving away from that over the decades, and the ACA was another jump away.

Does anyone have anything positive to say? Where to go from here? Realistic advances in the right direction?
The only realistic advance in the right direction would be if the GOP can somehow add to the amount of individual choice.

One thing that might be politically feasible is to pass a law allowing plans from any state to be allowed in any other state. One big factor raising insurance costs is that plans are forced to include all sorts of coverage. If one could choose a plan from the least-costly state, it could help push the other states to reduced their requirements.

Another thing would be to encourage individually-paid plans. One way would be to remove the tax-exemption given to premiums paid by companies, if they're more than a certain dollar amount per employee. Another, politically easier, way would be to give some type of additional tax-incentive to plans bought by individuals, making them the preferred route.

A third thing would be to have a law that says that only plans with a fairly high deductible and considerable co-pays will be eligible for tax-exemption.

These are small changes, but even these could only happen if the GOP kept the house --- perhaps it would even need a GOP majority in the senate.

I would like to see Romney push to end employer-paid health-insurance (basically, to end the tax-deduction on this), and advocate for individually-paid insurance. It'll be interesting to see if he will.

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The federal gov't evidently has unlimited dictatorial powers, so long as it taxes us in the process. Thus if we passively decline to join the Communist Party or Church of Satan, the gov't can rightfully make us join a gov't-approved Communist or Satanic group, or else force us to pay a "tax" penalty. This isn't tyranny or unconstitutional, according to Judge Roberts, because it "reasonably" is part of the federal gov't's power to tax.

Edited by Wotan

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This isn't tyranny or unconstitutional, according to Judge Roberts, because it "reasonably" is part of the federal gov't's power to tax.
It is blatantly unconstitutional, but the SCOTUS rejected the constitution a long time ago. Roberts has done nothing fundamental here. Before Roberts, the Feds can send men to die in battle; the Feds can make people pay more tax because they do not have kids; the Feds can make you pay more tax if you want to buy something from a foreigner instead of from a local (something that was true even at the time of the constitution),

The actual people who bring this to us: the democratically-elected Congress and President. People voted for Obama knowing that he wanted desperately to bring more statism to health-care. I do not believe people voted for him thinking "He will do healthcare, but without a mandate". The real people to blame are the folks all around you who do not take the time to understand the issues, and instead pine for more statism, and vote for it too.

Edited by softwareNerd

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The federal gov't evidently has unlimited dictatorial powers, so long as it taxes us in the process.

Unlimited is a stretch. I don't think fining people for not joining a church would be upheld by this court, for instance. But I did catch myself thinking out loud that I might be taxed for not patronizing a bordello. A more realistic example would be a tax for not driving a Chevy Volt, not eating 3 servings of vegetables a day, or not having a gym membership.

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The full impact of the Supreme Court decision Re ObamaCare is sinking in: The government can now compel you to do *anything* so long as they do it through the tax code. Previously, they could offer incentives / tax breaks to encourage you to do something (buy a house) or offer disincentives / higher taxes to discourage you from doing something (smoking cigarettes /alcohol); but they couldn't use the tax code if you didn't engage in the purchase of something. Now the door is wide open for special taxes solely for the purpose of modifying behavior. Don't want to get married by age 25? We'll tax you! Don't want to buy a house at all? We'll tax you! Don't want to go to church? We'll tax you! Don't want to send your kids to government schools? We'll tax you! Don't want to open your webpage to all views? We'll tax you!

The list is endless, and it was all brought to you by Conservatives, who claim to be on the freedom side, but don't mind modifying the tax code to modify behavior. So, in that sense, no, there was no contradiction of the final ruling coming down from a Conservative who drew out that implication and made it explicit.

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Don't want to get married by age 25? We'll tax you!
This is already allowed in law, except that it is: don't want to stay single? We'll tax you. It's called the "marriage penalty"

Don't want to buy a house at all? We'll tax you!
This is law: people who do not own houses (via mortgages) typically have to pay a higher tax.

Don't want to go to church? We'll tax you!
A variant is law. Do not want to donate to churches or other charitable causes? We'll tax you.

A tax-credit and an extra tax are no different in reality. The only difference is the way the issue is framed.

Consider this: suppose a clothing store said that they are going to charge an extra 20% for the first week that clothes are on the rack, then an extra 10% for the next week, and then offer them at regular price. Compare this to the more typical example where the clothes are sold at full price, then discounted, and then discounted some more. Are the two examples different? They would be if there is some objective real regular price. However, there is none. The two examples are identical, except in the way they are framed.

It is the same for taxes. There is no objectively right level of tax. Every tax-credit can instead be framed as an additional tax for every taxpayer who does not receive it. The same with tax-law being based on action or inaction.

In fact, a GOP Congressman who is active in healthcare debates (I forget his name, except that he's an MD) said that his alternative to Obamacare would say that anyone who had insurance would get an extra tax-credit. He said that such a move would be constitutional. Basically, he wants to fool people by framing an identical mathematical formula in more pleasant terms.

Edited by softwareNerd

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I looked a little bit further into the Anti-Injunction Act, and it seems that I was wrong about the court holding challenges until 2014. Because this tax was framed as a "penalty," congress essentially waived its right to protect this law from litigation until the tax "penalty" goes into effect. The court actually ruled that this is a tax, and it is constitutional... So, if the ACA did originate in the Senate, then it seems the SCOTUS doesn't care where taxation originates, constitution be damned.

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I'm confused again, SapereAude. But I'm also hopeful, because this suggests an area that hasn't yet been decided. Do any lawyers want to comment on whether or not the Anti-Injunction Act applies?

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My suspicion would be that it was left confusing by design.

Remember when it was complained at the vote that most hadn't had time to read the entire bill?

And Pelosi notably said "we have to pass it so you can find out what is in it"?

This will ultimately be decided not by objective law or constitutionality but by pure politics.

If the GOP gains the senate and the White House it wil be repealed. If Obama wins it stays.

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I don't disagree with SN and others who claim that the Federal Tax Code already uses the rulings to attempt to govern behavior of the individual. However, this was never made as explicit as it is in this ObamaCare ruling. Previously, the Government could always claim that their primary purpose in imposing a tax or offering a tax rebate was for the purpose of generating revenue for the government; the power to regulate behavior through the tax code was only implicit. So, I do think this SCOTUS ruling crosses a new line in setting the "Constitutional principle" of the power to tax. As far as I understand the ruling that the penalty for not getting insurance is a legitimate tax on behavior sets new grounds for the purpose of the tax code. And there is a big difference between offering you a carrot (tax credits) for doing certain things versus sticks to beat you with (a higher tax) for doing certain things. If you don't know the difference, then maybe you ought to be beat each time you do something wrong and yet not rewarded if you do something right. Nonetheless, I don't think one can make a case that extra taxes could have been levied against the individual for NOT doing something.

Of course, the fundamental problem with the whole attack on the "individual mandate" as the only complaint brought to the Supreme Court is that it does not challenge the government's power to get involved in anything they please so long as it is not specifically against the specific language of the Constitution. In other words, I think we no longer have even a minimal guidance on Federal regulations based on rights whatsoever. While some may claim there were silver linings in the ruling (supposed limits on the Commerce Clause and such), I think this really pales in comparison to the fact that the Supreme Court has just about upheld slavery, so long as it is done through the tax code. The Federal government can now beat you as it pleases, so long as it in the form of a tax.

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The core problem is that there already is an "individual mandate" in this country and there has been for five decades: it's called the social safety net. Insofar as nobody questions the idea that we owe every citizen health care whether they pay for it or not, then all individuals must pay for everybody's health care including their own.

Within that premise, the individual mandate perversely becomes more fair as it least may force some deadbeats to pay for their own coverage rather than forcing me to, which is what happens now.

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Here is an interesting argument against the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare that I don't know if I read somewhere recently or thought of for myself. One of the founding principles of the USA is no taxation without representation, and so the Founders put the power to tax in the hands of the House of Representatives. By arbitrarily changing the words in ObamaCare from "penalty" to "tax" the Chief Injustice is arbitrarily imposing a new tax onto the American people, which he has no authority to do. This is certainly one angle from which to challenge the ruling of the Supreme Court, and yes, I would love to see a great tax lawyer take up the challenge and throw it right back into his face!

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Within that premise, the individual mandate perversely becomes more fair as it least may force some deadbeats to pay for their own coverage rather than forcing me to, which is what happens now.

Sorry, that is inaccurate.

People below certain incomes will get government paid healthcare, subsidies and for some, waivers.

The people that are parasites today will still be parasites.

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The whole issue of whether or not ObamaCare originated in the House or the Senate is an interesting one; and according to the Forbes article mentioned above, it did originate in the House. Nonetheless, it was not presented as a tax bill, and in the language of the Bill / Law itself, the money an individual must pay if he doesn't get insurance was presented as a penalty, not a tax. So, I still say that the Chief Injustice arbitrarily considering a penalty to be a tax is UnConstitutional, since the Supreme Court has no authority to tax the people of the United States, and I don't think they have the authority to arbitrarily change the wording of a Bill / Law to make it semi-constitutional. Besides, the Leftist supporters of the ObamaCare monster are running around proclaiming that it wasn't a tax at all and that therefore, Obama et al did not violate his proposal not to raise taxes on the middle class. You can't have it both ways, though we have a whole lot of politicians trying to split the difference, so long as they can continue to have the power to whip us as they please through the tax code.

But so long as the idea that the government has the authority to manipulate non-violent activity is alive and well, we will get more carrots and sticks from the politicians; so that fundamental principle is what needs to be challenged and outlawed.

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So, I still say that the Chief Injustice arbitrarily considering a penalty to be a tax is UnConstitutional, since the Supreme Court has no authority to tax the people of the United States, and I don't think they have the authority to arbitrarily change the wording of a Bill / Law to make it semi-constitutional.

So, since he helped write the bill, does that mean he has to recuse himself if the law comes to him again for some other reason? :)

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The Chief Injustice recusing himself if ObamaCare gets challenged on taxation principles might not be a bad idea, but I don't know that he can be forced not to participate (since he helped write the law) and because there is no higher court in the land to take his ruling to court. I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but there is a solution, at least in theory, and that would be to impeach the Chief Injustice for violating the Constitution. My understanding is that this would have to be done by the Senate, but since the Senate (majority Leftists) fully support ObamaCare, I don't see them doing this. But it is part of the checks and balances of our type of government.

The primary problem is that no one in the government makes rulings based upon individual rights any longer. The whole purpose of having all those checks and balances in the first place was to reign in the government, making it necessary for each and every Bill to be duly thought through before becoming the law of the land, and the Founders seemed to have taken the rights orientation of legislators for granted. In their day during the Age of Enlightenment and the rational grounds for individual rights being understood at least implicitly, this might have been an understandable mistake. But by not making it explicit in the Constitution, legislators were left with no legal standard from which to generate new laws. So, these days, they jump through the hoops and pass what they can pass, with no principle of individual rights to guide them.

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Here's the Constitutional amendment suggested by Atlas Shrugged. Given the new ruling that the government can tax us into doing or not doing anything, I'm not sure it would be enough to deter the tyrants:

"The rectangle of light in the acres of a farm was the window of the library of Judge Narragansett. He sat at a table, and the light of his lamp fell on the copy of an ancient document. He had marked and crossed out the contradictions in its statements that had once been the cause of its destruction. He was now adding a new clause to its pages: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade …"

In other words, if the power to tax is unrestricted and can be used as a whip to control our behavior explicitly, then can they eventually come up with a tax to deter us from speaking out against the Leftist government -- a fine for voicing an opinion that is contrary to Marxism? I think it would be an interesting case. Which is more fundamental? The power to tax or the First Amendment?

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The hope that Justice [sic] Roberts ruling of the Mandate as a tax will allow a simple majority repeal, is a false one. He states explicitly that the "tax" definition is for purposes of Constitutionality only, and that for legal purposes, including application of the Anti-Injunction Act, and presumably for application of Congressional procedures, the Mandate is what Congress defined it to be in the legislation, i.e., a penalty. Roberts has ruled that A both is and is not A.

There's no silver lining here. SCOTUS has affirmed the authority of the federal gov't to lay and collect taxes, regardless of the application towards the enumerated powers. Having specifically rejected the only justification, in terms of those powers, Roberts allows a violation of the 10th Amendment and leaves no interpretation open that limits the authority of the gov't to wield taxes as a weapon against Liberty. Congress could pass a tax on Buddhists, that SCOTUS might find unconstitutional on 1st amendment grounds, but upon wider consideration uphold it as within Congress' unlimited power to lay and collect taxes.

There is no limit. This is total tyranny, proposed, decided and sanctioned by one man.

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The hope that Justice [sic] Roberts

lol

There is no limit. This is total tyranny, proposed, decided and sanctioned by one man.

Was there ever any limit? If the government wants, and the people let, there will be. There isn't total tyranny... after all, I can still say "F U" to the government to some capacity publicly and not have agents show up on my doorstep. There is still Fox News. The Internet is still up and running. Etc.

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lol

Was there ever any limit? If the government wants, and the people let, there will be. There isn't total tyranny... after all, I can still say "F U" to the government to some capacity publicly and not have agents show up on my doorstep. There is still Fox News. The Internet is still up and running. Etc.

There was at least the principle that gov't was constrained by the Constitution. This evades that constraint, by making the expropriation of property, in the form of taxes, exempt from any other Constitutional tests. The gov't could pass a law laying a tax on Walmart equal to the total value of all capital assets of that company, forcing them to convert their capital into cash and pay it as tax to the gov't. At least with a penalty, there is some law that needs to be broken (like not purchasing insurance) in order to trigger the penalty; taxes can be laid with absolutely no justification whatever and requiring no triggering actions (or inactions). Before this, there was an assumption that taxes had to be otherwise Constitutional. That principle has been explicitly obsoleted as long as this ruling stands.

This ruling runs so counter to Constitutional principles that I ponder if Roberts was coopted and intentionally undermined the basis for his own ruling as a moral escape hatch, or if he planted a bomb in the Constitutional framework to hasten the collapse of a corrupt system. There is far more justification today for any tax they can dream up, than there was justification for the individual Mandate just one week ago. One could take your point well and say the Roberts has simply taken the implicit and made it explicit...

Is Roberts Francisco??? :)

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