Romney Adviser Says Obamacare Is Not A Tax

Debate continues over whether fee for not buying insurance is tax or penalty.

   

investorpoliticsletters2 Romney Adviser Says Obamacare Is Not A TaxFor those who thought Thursday’s Supreme Court decision would be the last we heard of Obamacare for some time, the days following the decision have been disappointing. In the aftermath of a surprising 5-4 vote to uphold the bill, supporters and detractors have been speaking out.

House Republicans have planned a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on July 11, a mostly symbolic and futile gesture given the Democrats’ control of the White House and Senate (for now, anyways). Romney has also expressed support for repealing Obamacare.

In the wake of this windmill tilting, both sides have seized upon an important part of Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion: the law was constitutional because the fee for not having insurance was a tax, which Congress has the right to levy. Not surprisingly, Democrats have hit back on this. Surprisingly, a Romney adviser agrees with them.

Mitt Romney’s senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, said he agreed with those who said the fee was a penalty, not a tax. However, by no means does he — or Romney — actually support the Affordable Care Act.

“The governor disagreed with the ruling of the court. He agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice [Antonin] Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax.”

Still, these words take some of the sting out of the most vehement arguments that Republicans have made against the Affordable Care Act — that it amounts to a tax increase, when President Barack Obama promised it wasn’t.

Regardless of whether you think Obamacare is a tax or a penalty, it seems unlikely that we will see a true resolution for the bill until the November general election. Be prepared for even more hot air over Obamacare.

– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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