"The ObamaCare Tax"

To coin a phrase…Stephen Moore jumps out front in the WSJ:

For those of us who can’t access the wall street journal can you give us a summary?

Try it this way:


It should be about the 2nd link as of right now and I think you will be able to view the entire article.

I guess the phrase has already been in existence, since there had been prior political discussion/debate about whether the mandate constitutes a tax; now that the impartial scotus has defined it as such, it’s all we’re gonna hear from the right…

To me the Obamacare tax will always be the sales tax on tanning salons. I still think that might cost him Jersey.

Meh, it probably has some legs as campaign rhetoric. But I’m kinda sceptical that the GOP will sweep into the Whitehouse due to anger over a small penalty some fraction of one-percent of the US population will actually end up paying.

They have to try to make lemons out of lemonade somehow, but the fact that the law was upheld puts a major dent in the “Obama is a failure” argument and I think it makes life harder for Romney because he’ll either have to take a harder line on it or say how he’d replace it.

Yep, I do think that while many voters have the memory of a goldfish, there are still many that will not forget that just yesterday Romney was saying that if the courts did strike down Obamacare that Obama just wasted and was a useless president for all these last 3 years.

[Aside:] Now that gasoline prices are falling, I wonder why I do not see any Republicans congratulating Obama; after all, according to them, he was responsible for the gasoline prices. :slight_smile:

Granted, I haven’t seen any of the Dopers that were saying it was a GOP and oil company conspiracy to unseat the Prez thanking our insidious plutocratic overlords for changing their minds.

I agree with this in principle but:

  1. Romney will gain a few votes from those that can’t stomach him but hate Obamacare even more.
  2. Romney will likely fall back on the GOP party line “tort reform + interstate competition is all we need to do”.
  3. Obama has a little club to smack Romney with in the debates: have him explain why he loved it in Massachusetts but has since disowned it.
  4. I’d have to say Tim “Obamneycare” Pawlenty’s VP stock has gone down. If your own running mate used to beat you up on how similar your plan was to Obama’s, you’ve got problems.

That’s because Obama only lowered the prices because it’s months out from the election and as soon as he frauds his way into the white house again he’s going to raise them again. :stuck_out_tongue:

If the tax refers to the penalty for not having health insurance, I describe it here in another thread.

The rigorous analysis in the OP has convinced me. Of what, I am not sure.

He already has their votes.

Maybe. At this point that proposal seems even more insufficient than it did in the past. There are too many provisions of the health care law that people actually like.

Didn’t Pawlentry pull out of the VP search a few days ago? (Meaning they told him he was out and let him say ‘it’s OK, I didn’t want it anyhow.’)

Tax label is a small price to pay for survival of healthcare reform

I don’t think that the mandate legally being changed into a tax will have an effect on the election, but it will have an effect on compliance. People obey the law, and now the mandate is no longer a mandate, it’s just a tax. In addition, that means that Congress no longer has access to other measures to toughen the mandate, since the tax authority only includes the authority to tax, not to punish.

What is your prediction on compliance rates?

As a point of comparison, prior to the individual mandate in Mass it was estimated that 90% had insurance. In 2010, 44,000 or so paid the penalty. It’s claimed something like 439,000 have adopted insurance since the law was enacted out of 6.6 million individuals. That would bump the insured rate up to around 97% (which is what I’ve seen in other studies). Cite for these numbers here: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2012/0710/Health-care-reform-How-has-the-individual-mandate-worked-in-Massachusetts

Now other states are much worse off - Texas has something over 25% uninsured. And if they refuse the Medicaid expansion there will obviously be a big chunk of working poor that can’t afford the mandated coverages. But beyond that (which is more of a self-inflicted wound than a flaw with the ACA), I’m not sure how many will choose to pay the penalty rather than take subsidies to buy coverage they previously couldn’t afford.

I’m extremely dubious that a Supreme Court ruling changing the name of the action from “penalty” to “tax” would change that sort of personal calculation regarding insurance, but I guess it’s not impossible.

For most people it won’t change things, but it does mean something to me that it’s not actually the law anymore than you have to have health insurance. Now it’ll be more of a simple financial calculation rather than a moral imperative.

Let’s look at another tax: cigarette taxes. If the government banned smoking, but didn’t enforce the law except through the tax, how would that change smoking rates? Probably not much, but a little bit.

I’m not sure this is analogous. Here you have an activity that most people know is bad for them but that they enjoy doing. There’s a pretty obvious payoff between paying money to do something you enjoy but that is bad for you.

Not buying health insurance is something that is bad for you and that you also don’t enjoy doing (nobody likes being uninsured). Add in the penalty and there really isn’t a good reason to go uninsured (assuming the subsidies make it affordable).

But I think we are in general agreement - if there is any change in compliance due to the ruling it will be minimal. Particularly compared to the effect of either (a) the mandate being struck down or (b) states rejecting the Medicaid expansion.

That suits me fine. If the mandate isn’t enforced, but the pre-existing condition law is enforced, it will drive private health insurers into bankruptcy. The sooner private health insurance companies leave the market, the sooner we will get single-payer, universal health care from the government.

The Medicaid expansion is a different story. For most states they might actually get more money if they don’t take it, because those above the poverty line who won’t be getting Medicaid will be getting subsidies for the exchanges. That’s better health care for that group than they would otherwise receive, and more money for the states involved.