Obamacare’s mythological Constitutionality

With the Supreme Court set to hear arguments on Obamacare on Monday, former US solicitor general Walter Dellinger uses the time-tested myth/fact gimmick to assuage our fears that anything could possibly be wrong with a two thousand page, two trillion dollar bill that next to no one in Congress read before passage. We’ll start with ‘Myth’ #1:
1. The “individual mandate” forces everyone to buy health insurance.
Taxpayers who do not meet this requirement will have to pay a penalty that the law calls a “shared responsibility payment.” It begins at $95 for the first year and never exceeds 21 / percent of anyone’s annual taxable income… As a practical matter, the so-called mandate is just a relatively modest financial incentive to have health insurance.
Dellinger’s statement is akin to saying that the mafia doesn’t force anyone to pay back debts, it just provides a modest physical incentive by not breaking your legs if you do. “As a practical matter”, this is a distinction without much difference. Continue reading