Regarding the Supreme Court’s decision, I think their Interstate Commerce validation is fallacious. The Interstate commerce clause authorizes Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes.” The problem is, you have to have commerce for interstate commerce to apply. In this case they are not regulating the act of commerce already taking place, they are “forcing” the commerce part of it to happen through threat of punishment (a tax penalty.) Unless I buy healthcare insurance, or healthcare services from a state in one other than where I reside, Or I live in a state that mandates insurance which then must coordinate with another state in providing that service (or a foreign nation or Indian tribe), then the clause is moot, as there is no commerce to regulate. Suggesting that they have the power to force me to buy insurance or pay a tax under the Interstate Commerce clause assumes a future purchase, under specific criteria, which I may not make, and forces me to make the purchase now. I do not see a Constitutional validation for doing so, and clearly do not think the Interstate Commerce Clause is such.
It is no different than saying that I need to pay for a motel room in Idaho today, or be taxed for not doing so, because one day I “may” travel through Idaho and unexpectedly become stranded there for the night with no money and need a room (validated by the fact that ‘some’ people do travel to Idaho and get stranded.) If I actually purchased a motel room in Idaho, then interstate commerce would apply, and the argument that Interstate Commerce applies is constitutionally sound. It’s actually where it stems from, motels refusing to rent rooms for the night to out of state black travelers (that, and keeping states from contracting with foreign nations.) Until there is a transaction, there is no commerce to fall under regulation of the Interstate Commerce clause, and therefore no constitutional grounds to apply to the present healthcare situation.
As far as John Roberts statement about it being within the Constitution to assess such a tax, that might technically be correct in theory, but I find it somewhat questionable. Do you think Congress has, or should have, the right to tax the people on things we ‘do not’ participate in? I participate in driving on roads, national security, social security and things like that, so taxes seem appropriate on the things everyone uses, to avoid the freeloader syndrome. The problem is, everyone doesn’t use the healthcare system, and those that do certainly do not use it equally. We obviously tax people on incomes, and right now we ostracize people by taxing them for things we don’t want them to do (alcohol, cigarettes, use too much fossil fuel) but what if we start to tax people to ostracize them for things they “don’t” do? [And maybe we already do in some cases, but I can’t think of any off of the top of my head] If we allow ourselves to be taxed on things that we do not participate in, then where does the line get drawn? What if we begin to tax people who DO NOT buy condoms on a regular basis (though married or in monogamous relationships and/or sterile who do not need them?) Or maybe we tax people who don’t consume ‘enough’ American consumer products to get out of the recession, thus forcing either consumption or tax revenue? Would you support taxing people who refuse to go to a chiropractor, or a psychotherapist? How about taxing people who refuse to buy U.S. Treasuries in the middle of a bond bubble? Taxing people for not purchasing a home right now, assuming they may need to purchase one in the future…because we all need a stable housing market, correct? A tax for not buying a new American car often enough (suggesting it adds to pollution and excess fossil fuel consumption not to drive newer cars), thus ostracizing and taxing people who exclusively take public transportation? Should we tax people who don’t participate in heterosexual sex, because they don’t reproduce and thus diminish the perpetuity of the human race? Once we cross the line of taxing people for the things they “don’t” participate in, where do we “constitutionally” redraw it?
Those who are healthy will receive nothing in return for their money!