Ilya Somin, law professor at George Mason University, said that the ObamaCare mandate is more of a penalty to Americans than a tax as the U.S. Supreme Court held in its past decision. Somin’s remarks were given at the libertarian think tank Cato Institute.
The major difference between a penalty and raising revenue, said Somin at the Cato Institute recently, is that a penalty results in paying a fine while raising revenue funds a project or program. “This,” Somin said, “is exactly what ObamaCare’s individual mandate is. [It’s] a penalty and not a tax.” Yet, it is seen as a tax because “Chief Justice Roberts and the majority of Supreme Court Justices” ruled it was a tax. Somin surmised, “Had they gotten this issue right,” the ObamaCare mandate would not be an issue.
Under the Supreme Court majority’s logic that everyone can choose to get health insurance, Somin pointed out, “Billions would choose to pay the fine” rather than buy the government-mandated health insurance. He said that people “can’t argue that this is something where revenue is not expected or revenue is not its purpose.” This is still an issue today, said Somin, “onlybecause Chief [Justice] Roberts got this wrong.”
Because of Chief Justice Roberts “reinterpreting the law, which he called a natural reading” of the Constitution, this issue about ObamaCare’s constitutionality is still in question, Somin averred. It also does not help that “the unpopularity of ObamaCare” keeps this issue fresh in the minds of the Supreme Court and Americans. “In this case…the law right from the beginning was opposed by the majority of the public.” With the continual delays of ObamaCare, Somin said, “That may make it easier for the Court to strike it down.”