Obamacare opponents dismayed about John Roberts’s opinion in the Supreme Court case that upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate — and therefore Obamacare itself — may have occasion to do a rethink. The ruling, it turns out, may not be the saving grace that Obamacare supporters thought it was. Indeed, the very opinion that Obamacare supporters praise may, ironically, be the opinion that kills Obamacare for good.
Recall that the Supremes did, in fact, rule the individual mandate unconstitutional as a penalty. Recall, also, their concomitant ruling that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause did not empower the federal government to force every American to purchase a product in the private market by virtue simply of being alive.
Nevertheless, according to the Roberts opinion, the individual mandate survived its constitutional challenge as a tax. More important, according to Roberts, it survived only as a tax.
It also, ironically, precisely because it is a tax that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, as the Cato Institute’s Michael F. Cannon notes in his article in today’s Los Angeles Times (emphasis mine):
The Pacific Legal Foundation is challenging the individual mandate, which originated in the Senate, even though the Constitution requires that tax measures originate in the House.