Bonnie had a great post on the President’s attempts to evade characterizing the individual mandate as a tax. Stephanopoulos challenged Obama by pulling out a dictionary and looking up the word “tax” — he could have just gone to the bills themselves. More after the jump.
Let’s take a look back at what Obama said during his campaign about tax increases at 1:20:
Now, let’s take a look at two different bills. The first one is the House bill, H.R. 3200. This is what the bill says about individuals who chose not to, or couldn’t afford to purchase health insurance:
Subpart A–Tax on Individuals Without Acceptable Health Care Coverage
`SEC. 59B. TAX ON INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT ACCEPTABLE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.
`(a) Tax Imposed- In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of–
I’m not lying to you, I’m quoting the actual text of the bill. This part of the bill is found in a section that modifies the Internal Revenue Code. Stephanopoulos doesn’t even have to go to the dictionary to check whether or not this plan involves a tax, the word tax is literally written all over it. The tax is charged to any individual who does not purchase health insurance — regardless of his or her income.
Excise Tax. The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.
Not only is it written there, it’s italicized and bolded in the PDF.
Clearly the individual mandate is a tax — a tax that falls on the very people the President promised not to increase taxes on. But what does our President say…?
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.