Romney Adviser Says Obamacare Is Not A Tax

by InvestorPlace Staff | July 2, 2012 11:54 am

[1]For those who thought Thursday’s Supreme Court[2] 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[3] 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[4].

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[5] back [6]on this. Surprisingly, a Romney adviser agrees[7] 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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