Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans have lost their main argument against it. So, naturally, they’ve switched arguments—and they are now calling the healthcare mandate the biggest tax hike in the history of the world. It’s not. And people who understand the massive upside of the new healthcare law need to get this story straight and fight back with the facts about ACA.
First, let’s remember that the Roberts Court, the most conservative Supreme Court in US history, just upheld the health care law as constitutional. They upheld its constitutionality by stating that health care costs are a national crisis, and that our Constitution empowers our elected leaders to create national solutions. The court also affirmed that the individual mandate is a constitutional fee that you don’t pay if you already have health insurance. The Court agreed that the rest of us shouldn’t keep paying for free riders.
Now, about that “it’s a huge tax” argument
Seriously? This argument is coming from Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress who have all endorsed a tax plan to make you pay more taxes so the richest few can pay less. [And are Republicans willing to call the virtually identical law passed in Romney’s Massachusetts a tax on that state’s citizens?]
In fact, the Court’s decision to uphold the health care law will result in the largest health care tax cut in American history, with families and small businesses benefiting the most. Under the law, millions of families will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help them pay for insurance in the new exchanges. This tax relief for working families will make insurance more affordable for those who can’t get it through work or whose employer insurance is too expensive. The act also provides financial assistance to reduce out-of-pocket costs for moderate and low-income eligible Americans.
Who pays? Free riders
The “individual mandate” is really just a free rider fee for people who can afford health care but would rather stick the rest of us with the bill. Having health insurance is and will continue to be a choice. But for those who can afford insurance and choose not to buy it, the Court said it’s constitutional to charge them a fee, so the rest of us don’t have to pay for their care for free. So a tiny percentage of free riders — between just 2 and 5 percent of Americans — will pay a small fee, while millions of families and small business owners that take responsibility for their care will get tax credits. And please note: The “individual mandate” doesn’t impact anyone who already has health insurance. And for those who can’t afford it, there’s help.
Bottom line, the Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for American families. Sure, it’s not the single-payer plan that many on the left would prefer. But it means lower costs, more coverage, and the beginning of the end of the health-insurance rip-offs that we’ve endured for far too long.
Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.