White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today asserted that the consequences under Obamacare for not having insurance are a penalty and not a tax, disagreeing with the reasoning by the Supreme Court, which upheld Obamacare under the assumption that it is a tax.
Carney made the assertion during briefing conducted today aboard Air Force One. Though he did not say so explicitly, his contention suggests that the White House effectively disagrees with the reasoning of the Supreme Court decision.
Carney explained that the result was a penalty because people have a choice about whether to get insurance, while people don’t have a choice to pay taxes. He said:
It’s a penalty because you have a choice. You don’t have a choice to pay your taxes, right? You have a choice to buy — if you can afford health insurance.
Carney sugested Republicans who call it a tax are “not telling the truth,” even though they would be merely agreeing with the opinion of the Court.
President Obama sold Obamacare as a law that did not raise taxes, repeatedly describing the fee that would be assessed if people do not carry health insurance as a penalty rather than a tax.