Stephanopoulos to Obama: Isn’t a health-insurance mandate a tax?

posted at 9:21 pm on September 20, 2009 by Allahpundit

In which George S. is reduced to reading the dictionary definition of “tax” to the president of the United States. Obama’s point is that people who can afford to buy insurance but don’t are gambling with house money. If they get hit by a car and run up a million-dollar hospital bill — and some of them assuredly will — you and I are forced to pick up the tab in the form of higher premiums, in which case why not make the freeloaders either buy insurance and cover their own asses or pay a “fine” to help offset the cost to the rest of us of covering the uninsured?

All of which avoids the basic point: Of course that “fine” is a tax. Imagine if you were allowed to “opt out” of police protection, with your annual tax bill reduced proportionately by the cost of police services that you wouldn’t be using. Inevitably, some who opted out would have a huge (i.e. hugely expensive) police emergency and would call the cops anyway and the rest of us would be on the hook for paying for it. Solution: End the opt out and force people to cover their share of the cost of police services whether they want to or not, which is exactly what cities do. You can call that an “individual police-fee mandate” if your heart desires but most of us recognize it instantly for what it really is — namely, a tax. (The next time a cop pulls you over, try telling him, “My individual police-fee mandate pays your salary.”) No surprise at all, though, that the same guy who insists that this colossal boondoggle will be deficit-neutral can’t level with the public here either. He promised you he wouldn’t raise taxes and, darn it, he’s not going to raise taxes. But he didn’t say anything about “fines,” did he?

Exit question one: Isn’t this an oddly regressive tax argument for The One to be making? Many people who can afford insurance but refuse to purchase it are kids in their 20s, whose careers are just starting and who aren’t making much money yet. People who can afford it and do purchase it tend to be older, more established in their careers, and likely a bit better off. Essentially he’s arguing that it’s unfair for these richer folk to have to pay higher premiums to cover those who can less afford it. What happened to redistribution, champ? Exit question two: If he’s so worried about avoidable freeloading, isn’t he overlooking another rather large class of people?


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Exit question one: Isn’t this an oddly regressive tax argument for The One to be making? Many people who can afford insurance but refuse to purchase it are kids in their 20s, whose careers are just starting and who aren’t making much money yet.

That’s exactly the group he’s going after. He wants to get the 20-somethings on the government dole so that they’ve never known anything else/better.

salmonczar on September 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM

Not only is it a tax, it’s a life-tax. If you’re alive, you have to pay the tax/fine or else they’ll garnish your wages or put you in jail, or whatever. The only escape would be suicide.

FloatingRock on September 20, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Cindy Munford on September 20, 2009 at 9:53 PM

thats a Bill of Attainder :0)

ginaswo on September 20, 2009 at 10:39 PM

FloatingRock, the best part is if you are illegal you will wind up covered but you will NOT have to pay the fine b.c your income is all under the table so the IRS cant come after you..

ginaswo on September 20, 2009 at 10:40 PM

The next time Ed or Jazz, or whoever gives me crap about being picky about definitions, I’m pointing them to this demonstration of why it’s important to not let the other side redefine the terms of the debate.

HR 3200 specified the IRS would be collecting the finetax. ‘Nuff said.

The Monster on September 20, 2009 at 10:41 PM

If they get hit by a car and run up a million-dollar hospital bill — and some of them assuredly will — you and I are forced to pick up the tab in the form of higher premiums,

Actually that would be covered under the drivers liability insurance

agmartin on September 20, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Bingo!

I also don’t see the logic in that statement. If an uninsured person becomes ill, said person still needs to pay the medical bills one way or the other. I don’t see how that would increase my health insurance premiums.

More snake oil from The Joker.

SagebrushPuppet on September 20, 2009 at 10:42 PM

When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS.

Obama spends all his time trying to baffle us with BS.

csdeven on September 20, 2009 at 10:44 PM

If the people who chose not to purchase health insurance, need insurance, it is only freeloading if they get it anyway. They shouldn’t.

Obama makes the car insurance analogy. Well, Barry, then let’s compare apples to apples. If I don’t have insurance and I get into an accident that is my fault, I don’t get covered, do I? I am screwed.

Let it be that way with health insurance.

The trick that socialists have imposed on us is that they first make free medical care possible, indeed a right, then now tell us that in order to pay your share for this free medical care, you need to be taxed for that “free” medical care. If free medical care wasn’t possible in the first place, there would be no need to tax everyone to make sure everybody pays their fair share.

This is why medicaid and medicare and social security and all the other socialist giveaways are a slippery slope. Once they get you hooked on that, then they have a hook into you to tax you to “pay your fair share”.

Tell you what Barry, keep your free medical care, and let everyone chose if they want to buy insurance or pay at the counter.

Choice Barry. The land of the Free is not about Free things. It’s about choice.

keep the change on September 20, 2009 at 10:44 PM

This is why medicaid and medicare and social security and all the other socialist giveaways are a slippery slope. Once they get you hooked on that, then they have a hook into you to tax you to “pay your fair share”.

Getting you “hooked” isn’t necessary.

I don’t want any of these things, they are all confiscated from my wages in violation of the Constitution.

I thought slavery was illegal, why is it I have to involuntarily have to work for the government for half the year?

NoDonkey on September 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM

He told a whopper about not paying much attention to the ACORN stuff also.

http://i871.photobucket.com/albums/ab276/justltl/acorn1111.jpg

justltl on September 20, 2009 at 11:00 PM

Actually, taxing/fining otherwise forcing 20 somethings to buy health insurance would probably accelerate the growth of the next generation of GOP. Nothing like a big tax bite to turn youthful stupidity into clear thinking.

bigjack on September 20, 2009 at 11:06 PM

I thought slavery was illegal, why is it I have to involuntarily have to work for the government for half the year?

NoDonkey on September 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM

No matter how someone wants to twist it, it really is slavery.

justltl on September 20, 2009 at 11:07 PM

In totally unrelated topic, Romo has thrown his third pick of the night – i think Jess has a voodoo doll of romo in her hands and is making him throw the ball to the men in blue…

I think Romo needs ..umm.. mental health insurance

nagee76 on September 20, 2009 at 11:09 PM

It really is painful giving half a year’s wages (half of a year of work) to the imbeciles in Washington to do with as they please.

And the Steelers lost today. That was painful.

justltl on September 20, 2009 at 11:17 PM

And all this time, I thought that words matter. Silly me.

NorthernCross on September 20, 2009 at 11:22 PM

I love the way Obama laughs when Georgie says “Authoritative figure” when reading the definition of a tax. Dope head!

Neo-Chase on September 20, 2009 at 11:24 PM

Silly Stephanopoulos. It’s not a “tax”. Dr. Obama, M.D. just wants to perform a “cashectomy” on everyone’s wallets.

Onus on September 20, 2009 at 11:53 PM

Obama makes the car insurance analogy. Well, Barry, then let’s compare apples to apples. If I don’t have insurance and I get into an accident that is my fault, I don’t get covered, do I? I am screwed.

And the person you hit is screwed because their premiums go up, through no fault of their own.

Bad comparison.

jdkchem on September 20, 2009 at 11:55 PM

Not only is it a tax, it’s a life-tax. If you’re alive, you have to pay the tax/fine or else they’ll garnish your wages or put you in jail, or whatever. The only escape would be suicide.

FloatingRock on September 20, 2009 at 10:36 PM

Even that’s probably not an escape. They’ll charge your family a fine, since suicide is illegal. Sort of like China sends a bill for the bullet it took to kill someone.

gina4 on September 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

My critics say I’m taking over every sector of the economy.

Well…yeah. Hello.
Let’s see…banking, automobiles, healthcare, energy, and when he runs us all out of money…retail.

Christian Conservative on September 21, 2009 at 12:08 AM

And the person you hit is screwed because their premiums go up, through no fault of their own.

Bad comparison.

jdkchem on September 20, 2009 at 11:55 PM

THat was obama’s comparison. No one will pay for my car if I didn’t have insurance. But with socialized medicine, if I get hurt or sick, the taxpayer is forced to pay for my care anyway. That is why the comparison is not valid.

keep the change on September 21, 2009 at 12:18 AM

But, but, but…it’s good for you to have health insurance! Why would you not want health insurance? You must have it.

It’ll be even better if you let us put this chip in your head that stops you from doing things that would be bad for you…

CrankyTRex on September 21, 2009 at 12:18 AM

What a prickly asshole. No wonder he didn’t go on Fox. Chris Wallace would have had fun with him.
I predict Obama will become a finger-wagger like Bill Clinton. Self-righteous rage centered on a digit that heaven knows where it’s been.

EMD on September 21, 2009 at 12:19 AM

Sure seems like there are a lot of people getting run over by a bus lately doesn’t it Mr. President?

clement on September 21, 2009 at 12:28 AM

I’m still waiting for Washington to convince me that a fine like this is not an illegal bill of attainder.

Blacksmith on September 21, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Goodness! does our Idiot-In-Chief really think that no one is listening?
These are his contradictory arguments.

THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN! WE MUST FIX IT! but you can keep your old system if you want to….

COSTS OF HEALTHCARE ARE TOO HIGH FOR POOR PEOPLE! but we will charge you a fine even if you are poor if you dont take our healthcare.

What the HECK?

He must think we are really that stupid.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on September 21, 2009 at 12:32 AM

He doesn’t think people are stupid. He simply doesn’t care.

CrankyTRex on September 21, 2009 at 12:33 AM

His critics are correct. It is a TAX and he is trying to take over everything.

Kini on September 21, 2009 at 12:38 AM

It’s ok. We can all go to our local ACORN office and find out how not to pay it.

CrankyTRex on September 21, 2009 at 12:45 AM

So the Amish are going to have to buy Blue Cross?
Will they soon have to buy Auto insurance?

Will we mandate that New Yorkers without a drivers license buy Auto insurance? Obama said they may be hit by a bus. What if it was an uninsured motorist?

barnone on September 21, 2009 at 12:48 AM

That’s a good question, barnone. Is there going to be a religious exemption? If it’s against my religion to pay stupid taxes, can I get out of them?

CrankyTRex on September 21, 2009 at 12:56 AM

His purpose is to destroy the country. To overload the machine. Break it down. The rebuild it the way he sees fit. It’s a simple formula. He’s going to be successful because in general most folks are standing with their thumbs up their… yup.

Griz on September 21, 2009 at 12:58 AM

I think that’s giving him too much credit. I think his purpose is merely to advance himself.

CrankyTRex on September 21, 2009 at 1:10 AM

Clinton : Clueless about IS

Obama : Clueless about TAX

macncheez on September 21, 2009 at 1:14 AM

1. He’s such an uppity elite thug that he does actually think you are all ignorant bible thumpers from the farm.
2. He’s the anti-christ and he’s just here to create kaos and confusion so he can eventually override the system.
3. He’s an amateur in way, way over his head and his lefty extremist tendencies have caused him to surround himself with like minds who are also amateurs when it come to governing day to day.

Take your pick. It’s one of the three. The more he talks the further he falls. Wait until he gets desperate. That’ll be like handing the nuclear football to Bill Ayres.

Griz on September 21, 2009 at 2:04 AM

That’s exactly the group he’s going after. He wants to get the 20-somethings on the government dole so that they’ve never known anything else/better.

salmonczar on September 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM

So we can look like this?

http://tinyurl.com/nrm2un

Diane on September 21, 2009 at 6:17 AM

whoever mentioned the situation of someone being hit by a car does not know how it should work… If you are the same as OZ then you have what we call third party personal injury insurance. It is compulsory and is part of motor vehicle registration.

If someone gets hit by a car, then that person is automatically covered under the motor vehicle accident insurance.

If someone is injured in the workplace then medical expenses should be covered by workers’ compensation.

That leaves accidents in the home, or illness….

My daughter in law is from New Zealand, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident which was not her fault, the other driver had a heart attack and she could not avoid his car. She ended up being very badly burned and lost her leg in order to save her young life. She has coverage for life for her prosthesis in New Zealand.

maggieo on September 21, 2009 at 6:18 AM

ginaswo on September 20, 2009 at 10:39 PM

That seems to cover a broad spectrum of situations but if it stops this health care mess, I am for it.

Cindy Munford on September 21, 2009 at 6:34 AM

You hear that young Obamabots? YOU will have to pay for insurance while all the illegals will be getting it for FREE! And while you are paying for insurance you will never use, illegals will be coming over here having their anchor babies on YOUR dime! Welcome to the club! Hope and Change Baby!

Can somebody put that on Facebook so young people will really know what is going on?

ctmom on September 21, 2009 at 6:55 AM

What about visitors to this country. Suppose you live in some other country, come to America for a visit, and get hit by a car and run up a big tax bill. My guess is that the US taxpayer would be picking that up as well. Why don’t we just have an $8,400 entry fee just in case?

Kafir on September 21, 2009 at 7:00 AM

What bothers me more than the “is it a tax or isn’t it” nonsense (it’s a tax no matter what the filthy liar wants to call it) is the idea that buying health insurance is a “responsibility.”

Since when did insurance became a civic duty? We don’t have mandatory voting so why should we have mandatory health insurance?

highhopes on September 21, 2009 at 7:30 AM

My guess is that the US taxpayer would be picking that up as well. Why don’t we just have an $8,400 entry fee just in case?

Kafir on September 21, 2009 at 7:00 AM

No make it an even $10K so that the legal visitors subsidize those who sneak across the border and have bypassed the citizenship kiosks that the filthy liar in the White House is going to be setting up.

highhopes on September 21, 2009 at 7:32 AM

As long as I am not forced to buy the govt option plan I’m fine with this. It’s something I’ve been advocating for a long time.

As to the illegals….this is a red herring in a lot of ways. No matter hat anyone proposes the argument is always there that illegals will benefit more. This is a given since they pay $0 and and will always get > $0 out. Education, health care, roads, airports. You name a govt provided good or service and illegals are getting it for free.

So yea illegals will get free health care. But they’re getting it now. They’d get it with ObamaCare, they’d get it wit HR3400 enacted. One way or another illegals will get health care without paying for it. It sucks, but it’s the way it is.

angryed on September 21, 2009 at 7:53 AM

But Obama PROMISED he would lower my taxes… I’m one of the 95%…

He wouldn’t LIE to me, would he?

Decider?

AnninCA?

He wouldn’t LIE to us, would he?????????

Khun Joe on September 21, 2009 at 7:56 AM

I don’t see it here but Auto Insurance is not mandatory for everyone.

If you do not have a vehicle or drive then you are not required to have insurance. Many people in large cities use public transportation and never learn to drive. Therefore never need to have a license or auto insurance.

Using auto insurance as an example is a bad example. He should have used Social Security as an example. That’s a nice Tax that will be exactly what mandatory health insurance requires.

Bkennedyjr on September 21, 2009 at 7:56 AM

One way or another illegals will get health care without paying for it. It sucks, but it’s the way it is.

angryed on September 21, 2009 at 7:53 AM

You’re confusing emergency care with managed healthcare. Yes, taxpayers suck up the cost of ER visits but we do not pay for all that preventive stuff the filthy liar wants to give them once he rewards them with citizenship.

highhopes on September 21, 2009 at 8:01 AM

Very late to the thread.

I will say that Morning Joe (for once) is very critical of Obama at this point. So far this morning, they’ve played the clip twice, only to return to the cast (Scarborough, Mika B., Barnacle, and Willie Geist) either laughing or shrugging. They’ve also made the very good point that this tax or fee falls under a provision that’s titled or described in the bill as…an excise tax.

So, I guess, as someone’s undoubtedly noted already, it depends on what the meaning of tax is. And I suppose that Obama’s misdirection is intended to distract us from what the proposals actually say.

BuckeyeSam on September 21, 2009 at 8:04 AM

He wouldn’t LIE to us, would he?????????

Khun Joe on September 21, 2009 at 7:56 AM

That’s simply a mis-statement put out by the uncivil KKK/Fox News/talk radio racists who are against the President! :-0

Seriously, what irritates me is that nobody holds him to account when he lies. Even George S. only did a half-assed job of pushing him on the tax associated with mandatory insurance.

highhopes on September 21, 2009 at 8:05 AM

AP, just so you know, the unemployed cant afford health insurance either. Add to that a $3800.00 addition to my taxes is no joke. Bozo is a moron and a liar.

dogsoldier on September 21, 2009 at 8:14 AM

Oh, there is no exception in HR3200 that limits the “fine” to those who can afford it. Its a BLANKET FINE. EVERYONE PAYS IT.

So if you work at Walmart for minimum wage, you will have to pay the fine or use every cent of your income to pay for insurance. Do the math. Read the bill.

Wow, there’s a mantra for you.

dogsoldier on September 21, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Ummm… it is a tax and he is taking over every sector of the economy.

That’s why his critics say those things.

Advocate For Change on September 21, 2009 at 8:28 AM

Obeying a bad law is worse than breaking a good one.

We just have to revolt. We have to cut off the monster’s food source (tax base)

TheSitRep on September 21, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Remember: You can choose to not drive so you won’t have to pay auto insurance.

The only way out of Obamacare is to die.

roasted7 on September 21, 2009 at 9:09 AM

More snake oil from The Joker.

SagebrushPuppet on September 20, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Stop It!

That bloody poster and comments like yours are insults to the comic book character.

The One’s face actually makes the character uglier and more menancing.

With that aside, at least the comic book villain didn’t use the US government to steal for him and decide between citizens who should have rights and money and who should not. All he wanted was wanton violence and money.

IlikedAUH2O on September 21, 2009 at 9:11 AM

taxes are already being paid for catastrophic health care.
if you are in any kind of life threatening condition, you will be taken care of in a hospital. if you don’t pay, the state, fed pays. thats taxes.
now obama wants to tax everyone to cover all of this by raising taxes, fines. this is on top of what we already are paying for: insurance, medicare, medicaid, and state programs. this is a states rights issue, not a federal issue. the fed has no authority on this matter.
he is going to tax us more on something we are already paying for.

mydogwonthunt on September 21, 2009 at 9:37 AM

why can’t everyone be entitled to a lexus? lets have an insurance plan for lifestyle choices. if i want lexus i should be able to make someone else contribute so that i can get a lexus.

mydogwonthunt on September 21, 2009 at 9:40 AM

If everybody bought a trip to Disneyland once a year, then Disneyland could afford to charge a lower price for an annual pass. So those of you who don’t buy an annual pass or don’t buy a trip to Disneyland are ripping off responsible consumers. The only fair way out is for everybody to buy a trip to Disneyland or pay the equivalent in fines.

If everybody bought a new Ford once a year, then Ford could afford to charge a lower MSRP. So those of you who don’t buy a new Ford are ripping off responsible consumers. The only fair way out is for everybody to buy a new Ford or pay the equivalent in fines.

If everybody flew to Hawaii once a year, then Pacific carriers could afford to charge a lower price. So those of you who don’t fly to Hawaii are ripping off responsible consumers. The only fair way out is for everybody to fly to Hawaii or pay the equivalent in fines.

I don’t care how often I hear the argument, it doesn’t make sense. If you bought insurance because it made you feel smarter than me, and it turns out to be a white elephant, I don’t feel obliged to pay more than I’m charged by the provider, just so you don’t feel like such a sucker…and I’d thought the Constitution limited the federal government from doing its bit…

Chris_Balsz on September 21, 2009 at 10:18 AM

You’re confusing emergency care with managed healthcare. Yes, taxpayers suck up the cost of ER visits but we do not pay for all that preventive stuff the filthy liar wants to give them once he rewards them with citizenship.

highhopes on September 21, 2009 at 8:01 AM

Visit an ER on a Monday morning and see how many “emergencies” there are in the waiting room. The ER is the doctor’s office for illegals. Have the sniffles, run to the ER? Little Juan’s got a tummy ache, off to the ER.

angryed on September 21, 2009 at 10:26 AM

While I oppose strongly oppose ObamaCare, I had great sympathy for the point I took Obama to be making. If people who are paying for insurance are in fact paying for the uninsured, then it makes sense to make the uninsured pay for themselves, tax increase or not. Of course, it would be more appropriate to have charities–not insurance–pay for the uninsured.

We need to make good arguments and not blindly oppose Obama.

thuja on September 21, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Also, I’m sick of the comparison to car insurance. If I don’t want car insurance, I can simply not drive a car. I don’t have that option with my health. Also, the insurance I’m forced to get for the privilege of driving on government roads is insurance for other cars, not mine and even then, only for the damage I cause to other vehicles.

If I get hit by a car, that’s not my medical bill either. The only big gamble I’m taking is if I place myself in a dangerous situation where I am the cause of my serious injury or where I learn too late that I have a serious illness.

And like Social Security (which just informed me by mail that I’ll likely only get $.78 on the dollar for my investment, if I’m lucky), the main purpose of getting someone like me to pay is to give money to others, as Allah explained. Democrats like to drain people like me, and yet so many of us vote for Democrats. It’s highly illogical.

Esthier on September 21, 2009 at 11:35 AM

We need to make good arguments and not blindly oppose Obama.

thuja on September 21, 2009 at 10:48 AM

How about we make people pay their own expenses? If that means taking out loans, so be it.

If he wants another reason to take money from my pocket, it has to be better than that. We started a war with England over less.

Esthier on September 21, 2009 at 11:38 AM

As George Costanza said:

Remember, Barry, it’s not a tax if you don’t believe it’s a tax…”

Barry Hussein Seinfeld.

profitsbeard on September 21, 2009 at 12:03 PM

If refinancing your mortgage is like a tax cut (remember this from the spring) then a fee is like a tax.

kringeesmom on September 21, 2009 at 12:49 PM

I don’t see it here but Auto Insurance is not mandatory for everyone.

And car insurance is a state issue, not a federal one. There is no federal car insurance requirement.

xblade on September 21, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Obama plays POLITICAL JEOPARDY: “I’ll take Weasel for a trillion, please.”

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on September 21, 2009 at 8:56 PM

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