The government doesn't make you buy a house, but if you make above a certain income it sure makes it attractive to do so by letting you deduct the interest on the mortgage.
I come from a country where i can go to hospital whenever i need, and unless it's for some really rare and expensive treatment, it's taken care of by all my fellow countrymans life-long (and over some generations) national taxation contributions.
I'm not saying it's perfect, but more to give information about the system most of us in the uk have grown up with and are quite happy with. That's my background to any questions i might raise in this thread in relation to healthcare.
My main question is around the thing you all call Obamacare. Is it just me or are they really trying everything to ensure Romney wins the next election? Knowing just how contentious this debate is the usa, it really seems like the democrats are trying to not win the next elections? Especially with Romney recently declaring the first thing he will do as president is to repeal 'Obamacare'. And what about it's name, talk about nailing a target on someones back! It just doesn't make any sense to my outsiders perspective (unless the aim is for Romney to be the next president).
I actually think this ruling was the best thing that could have ever happened to Romney. Everyone thought Obamacare was going to get overturned, even most Democrats, and when it didn't it woke people up and made them realize that if they want this monstrosity gone Romney is now their only solution. On top of that, after years of hearing about how this isn't a tax, the Supreme Court has flat out said it is a tax, which makes Obama a liar. I have no doubt that we will be seeing campaign ads that take advantage of this issue, and I think it will hurt Obama in the long run. This week it's a win, in November?...we shall see.
One can argue that this law could have other consequences that increase costs for small businesses, stifle hiring, etc. and that may very well be true -- but that isn't the tax.
Obama got super lucky that his opponent is Romney, given Romney's history with health care reform. Romney will play up the "this should've been handled at the state level" angle, but I think many people will realize that per-state handling of health care reform is a tricky task.
My simple reasoning is this:
I'm not willing to eliminate the emergency care provision and have people dying in the street because hospitals won't admit them. Thus it's logically a positive to get those people to actually pay into the system when they're healthy and to receive preventative care rather than emergency care. I have yet to hear a single argument against that reasoning.
1) The Democrats are going to be screaming to the rafters that if Obamacare is a tax, then so was Romneycare. It's much worse for Romney to be seen as someone that raised taxes than for Obama to be seen as such.
2) Many of the people hit hardest by the down economy are getting the most benefit from the ACA. Unemployed with pre-existing conditions. Recent college grads that can't find a job, but the ACA lets them stay on their parent's insurance. And so forth. So shouting about how horrible the ACA is could lose some of those same voters who are listening to Romney's economy spiel.
Neither of those things are completely logical. But then, this is politics we're talking about. I think by the time we're into September and October, it's going to be all economy all the time again, and health care will be back burner, if it appears at all.
I don't see how this will be bad for Obama. The people who are militantly against obamacare because it gets the government between them and their doctor (hello, i'd like you to meet health insurance companies, people who get bonuses for fucking you over in semi legal ways) would have voted for Romney already.
If anything, i think Obama can tell people who support him but aren't excited about him (which is a huge problem for him in my opinion) that if they don't "Get Out" and support him, Romney will turn back the clock on health care reform.
Obama may be hurt by this now being classified as a tax, he went out of his way, as did other dems, to say that the mandate was NOT a tax. If they had classified things as a tax from the begining this would have never been a constiutional issue.
Let's see Romney capitalize on that. He's always refused to call his mandate a tax either.
As Jon Stewart points out, Romney was on TV yesterday saying he would repeal Obamacare, but he wants to keep all the provisions that everyone likes about Obamacare, except for the bit about how to pay for Obamacare. At which point, he really shouldn't bitch about the deficit anymore.
And I don't see how the hell you can have all the good stuff that everyone likes without the payment system. At which point, everyone healthy will wait till they're sick before they buy insurance.
I think the difference is that if you can afford to buy a home but choose not to that everyone else isn't having to subsidize the roof over your head, should you need one.
By the current insanity in Washington they could do exactly that if they wanted to.
It's a fool's errand to try and point a finger at something you're paying while suggesting you aren't also benefiting from what others are paying. We all benefit, it's a society, and as a society we are choosing to be progressive and help out those that are doing worse than others. Why not jump on board the compassion train and come in for the big win?
On another note, I was talking about the decision with my wife yesterday, and she had a funny observation:
I guess constitutional law isn't that complicated after all.that is almost exactly how they told us to answer bar essays about whether something is constitutional
basically, put it under commerce clause, but if all else fails see if you can in any reasonable way call it a tax
Nice Full Metal Jacket allusion, Houngan. That's probably my favorite scene, especially:
etc.Pogue Colonel: What is that you've got written on your helmet?
Private Joker: "Born to Kill", sir.
Pogue Colonel: You write "Born to Kill" on your helmet and you wear a peace button. What's that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?
Private Joker: No, sir.
Pogue Colonel: You'd better get your head and your ass wired together, or I will take a giant shit on you.
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Now answer my question or you'll be standing tall before the man.
Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.
Pogue Colonel: The what?
Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
And I pay those taxes as part of my rent to the property owner who pays property taxes, so don't even try to pretend that I don't pay towards any of those other things as well.
The real problem with Obama Care is the fear of the unknown. I have read the reviews of the law and what everyone has said here and there are some obvious benefits, however there are also some very obvious gaps and assumptions.
It will be 5-10 years (assuming the law is allowed to last that long) before we know if actual insurance premiums are going to go down, if companies choose to insure or pay the fine, how many people choose the tax over the fine etc.
If health insurance rates continue to climb year after year then those people currently covered are going to consider the law a bust.
You are going to see a good sized number of companies choose to pay the fine as it will be cheaper then paying for insurance for their employees. Many are already analyzing the costs of either choice.
As far as paying property taxes indirectly through your rent, there used to be rebates for renters in some states, but I doubt most states are doing that anymore, since they're too intent on not taxing big companies and wealthier people's incomes more.