Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, the ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, told The Daily Caller that the individual health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act is “clearly a tax” and that Democrats saying so would be “the honest thing to do.”
“Well, the Supreme Court says it’s a tax, it’s a tax because they’re the highest court in the land and that’s the only basis upon which you could have sustained the health care law so I think from now on it’s a tax,” Alexander told TheDC.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, which upheld the health care law.
Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have praised the ruling but shied away from calling the mandate a tax. (HARRY REID: ‘I’m not here to give you all a dissertation on constitutional law)
“I don’t blame them [congressional Democrats] for not calling it a tax, but if you want to be straightforward about it, the only basis upon which the Supreme Court could have upheld the law would be if it’s a tax,” Alexander told TheDC.
“If it’s not a tax, there’s no health care law so from now on, it’s clearly a tax and the honest thing to do during the debate would have been for its supporters to have told the people of the United States that.”