You conservatives out there are too slick for us liberals, and Chief Justice Roberts nailed us good. The individual mandate is, without question or debate, a tax. In 2014, if you aren’t in prison, a Native American, in possession of a hardship exemption, face health care costs exceeding 8% of your household income, and you choose not to purchase private insurance or carry Medicaid, Medicare, or Vet benefits, then you will be taxed $95. In 2015, that total will rise to a staggering $325, and in 2016, $695.
Now, there is a catch that sinister liberals aren’t using when they write and report about this soul-crushing exercise of socialism; folks would have to pay the greater of the flat fee, or 1% of income in 2014. And that flat fee would rise to 2.5% of income in 2016 (up to a maximum $2,085). See, say the conservatives, that is the liberal trick that, along with Palin’s vision of Death Panels makes ObamaCare so horrible. Thank God John Roberts pointed it out in his decision!
Except it isn’t sinister, and the only thing tricky is the math conservatives are again using to criticize their own health reform plan. In 2011, the average price for an individual plan was $2,196 per year. According to the standards of the individual mandate, individuals making less than $27,500 ($2,196 is 8% of $27,500) would be exempt from the requirement to purchase. Median individual income in 2011 was $26,364. For those of you who either don’t like statistics (most of you if you are normal), or are used to conservomath, this means that fully half of the wage earners in the United States would be exempt from the mandate.
Now, if you are making more than $27,000 per year, and don’t have insurance through your employer, then who the heck are you working for? The mandate (which The Rational Middle argued against on purely market mechanics reasons) is an attempt to push young working professionals into the insurance market, where they can both share the costs as well as take responsibility for the own health care. We are taxed throughout this nation already, refer to your local county hospital for news of the cost of the uninsured on local taxpayers. A small tax (for which there are no late penalties, interest, or criminal jeopardy for non-payment) is a small step towards the kind of individual responsibility that conservative claim to prize.
The Individual Mandate is a tax…liberals are guilty as charged. We will leave it to the rational reader as to whether it is a bad thing or not.
The Rational Middle is listening…