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Friday, October 15, 2010

Florida Judge Busts Obama On Lies About Obamacare

In the New York Time article reporting how a Florida judge is allowing a challenge to the Obamacare law, in particular, the Obama administrations claims of powers to do so by calling it a tax, the judge reiterated Obama's claims during the debate that it was not a tax, the pointed to how the Obama administration is now trying to claim it is.

The judge was hard hitting about this issue and it is referred to in more than one place in the 65 page ruling which is allowing the challenges in this area and one other to go forward on behalf of approximately 20 states who are challenging the law as unconstitutional and not in the power of congress to mandate.

But the judge took pains to note that Congress referred to the fines in the legislation as a penalty, and that Mr. Obama denied it was a tax increase. Calling it an “Alice-in-Wonderland tack,” Judge Vinson wrote that Congress had tried to reap a political advantage during the debate by denying it was imposing a tax, and then sought a legal advantage in court by insisting it had done so.

Reminder: Barack Obama in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on September 20, 2009:

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here -- here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it's still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. The -- for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...

OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any...


OBAMA: What -- what -- if I -- if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.


Now, in order to justify the mandate which is being challenged on constitutionality issues, the Obama adminsitration is arguing that Congress has the right to force people to buy insurance under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution that gives Congress broad power to levy taxes.

Ruling here, page 312:

Although it only matters what Congress intended, I note for background purposes that before the Act was passed into law, one of its chief proponents, President Barack Obama, strongly and emphatically denied that the penalty was a tax. When confronted with the dictionary definition of a “tax” during a muchpublicized interview widely disseminated by all of the news media, and asked how the penalty did not meet that definition, the President said it was “absolutely not a tax” and, in fact, “[n]obody considers [it] a tax increase.” See, e.g., Obama: Requiring Health Insurance is Not a Tax Increase, CNN, Sept. 29, 2009, available at:

Page #24:

As the Supreme Court held by necessary implication, this court cannot “undertake, by
collateral inquiry as to the measure of the [revenue-raising] effect of a [penalty], to ascribe to Congress an attempt, under the guise of [the Commerce Clause], to
exercise another power.” See Sonzinsky, supra, 300 U.S. at 514. This conclusion is further justified in this case since President Obama, who signed the bill into law, has “absolutely” rejected the argument that the penalty is a tax.

Page #27:

8 See, e.g., Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax, N.Y. Times, July 17, 2010, at A14 (“When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s ‘power to lay and collect taxes.’”).