For legal purposes, in Supreme Court justice John Robert’s opinion the penalty provision for not purchasing private health insurance is a “tax”, but it seems to me it is a tax few people would ever have to pay.
For few people could afford not to have some type of health insurance, so they would buy it (whether through their employer or on their own) and not have to pay the penalty. For those who cannot afford to pay, Obamacare provides government-paid coverage, as I understand it (any loopholes notwithstanding).
While I am not an instant Obamcare fan, I think the attacks from the right (Republicans, Tea Party, what have you) are spurious. They’re just using the dreadful buzz word “tax” to bring down their opponent. And to add to that disingenuous charge, it was Republicans who first came up with the idea of mandatory buying of insurance, just as Obamacare is patterned much after Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law.
The problem is that unless everyone participates in the insurance the risk to the insurers is too high and keeps rates sky high or could eliminate the ability for them to offer insurance. You have to have a lot of numbers in that risk pool.
One thing I do not fully understand is that Obamacare, except for the fact it was introduced by a Democrat, is a business/Republican dream. Health care coverage provided to the majority of the public, not through the government or the taxpayers, but through private enterprise (albeit under the oversight and umbrella of the government). That’s probably why is was originally a Republican idea.
The real problem in all of this may be that no one seems to know how to actually control health care costs. Doses of aspirin that cost hundreds of dollars per pill in hospitals make no sense, but that problem is never addressed.
Others have opined, and I tend to agree, that Obamacare, although controversial, will likely become as accepted and as sacred as Social Security and Medicare, with few politicians daring to mess with it.
“Get big government out of my business, but don’t touch my Social Security, Medicare, or Obamacare”, will likely be the cry.