I’m fed up. The media has nothing better to do than bombard us night and day with the tug-of-war between left and right about whether the health care mandate is a “tax” or a “penalty.” If you’re like me, you’ve been rolling your eyes at the distraction and muttering “here we go again.”

My position on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare or Romneycare super-sized, is simple. It’s another freebie, writ large, with wonderful gimmees such as health coverage without regard to pre-existing conditions and dependent coverage on their parents’ policy until age 26, as well as new coverage for millions of uninsured. Who could be against that? It’s the same song warbled afresh with every social program, just bigger. It will tax us more and almost certainly remain incompletely funded to keep our creditors and bill-inkers in business (see—job creation at work). And now we know it’s constitutional—because five out of nine Chief Justices told us so.

My view on the mandate to buy health insurance is also simple. I worry that the government may see the Court’s decision as license to require the American public to buy other things it deems to be in our best interest, subject to penalties or taxes or whatever you choose to call it. But I also think it’s ingenuous to expect emergency rooms to be legally compelled to provide “free” care to those that can afford to pay but choose to exempt themselves. You see, I don’t want to pay for your health care if you don’t. Call me selfish.

As for you, Mr. Obama: The mandate was not a tax when you needed to sell it to the American people, but was when you needed to defend it to the Court. Now it’s a penalty again. And you, Mr. Romney, are no better. It was a penalty in Massachusetts and before the Supreme Court got hold of it, now it’s a tax, because five out of nine Chief Justices said so, even though you don’t agree with them—so there!

Enough squabbling, children. Let’s get back to business. Republicans, we know how you feel about the ACA—you’ve told us, over and over—and over. We get it. What we need to know is your alternative. Democrats, stop with the tax vs. penalty “it all depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” arguments, and move on to your next unfunded gimmee. Surely there are more votes out there to be bought and time’s a-wastin’.

It’s all enough to give me a pre-existing condition.


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  1. consideragain Says:

    Haha, this is one of the funniest commentaries I’ve heard yet on the ACA – and I’ve heard a lot.

    And I spent all morning writing a legal post…shoot.

  2. Sue Says:

    David, we do know Romney and the Rs’ healthcare intentions: heath savings accounts for all.

    • heartheaded Says:

      Yes, he’s mentioned health savings accounts, which I don’t oppose, and increasing competition by allowing out-of-state insurers to cross state lines, but this hardly amounts to comprehensive health care reform.

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