Last week supporters and opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act anxiously awaited the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law’s individual health insurance mandate. Imagine their surprise when the Court announced, in a majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, that there is no individual health insurance mandate.
Rather than a “penalty” imposed on anyone who “fails to comply” with the “requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage,” which is how the law itself describes the policy, Roberts perceived a “tax” that hinges on whether one follows the government’s totally nonmandatory guidelines regarding health insurance. This implausible relabeling of reality was Roberts’ desperate attempt to uphold the provision formerly known as a mandate without endorsing a boundless view of Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. Instead he endorsed a boundless view of Congress’ tax power that could prove even more dangerous to liberty… via Reason.com.