In the weeks following the Supreme Court's ruling on the healthcare mandate, President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have repeatedly stated to the public that the individual mandate contained in Obamacare is not a tax. The Democrats' hard line stance that the mandate is not a tax is illogical, as evidenced by Chief Justice Robert's constitutional analysis of the individual mandate.

Contrary to President Obama and the Democrat's interpretation of the mandate, Justice Roberts made ten key points in his analysis on why the mandate is a tax, and not a penalty:

  1. The Government asks us to read the mandate not as ordering individuals to buy insurance, but rather as imposing a tax on those who do not buy that product.
  2. According to the Government…the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition – not owning health insurance – that triggers a tax – the required payment to the IRS.
  3. [The mandate] makes going without insurance just another thing that the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.
  4. The Government asks us to interpret the mandate as imposing a tax, if it would otherwise violate the Constitution.
  5. The exaction the Affordable Care Act imposes on those without health insurance looks like a tax in many respects.
  6. The process yields the essential feature of any tax: it produces at least some revenue for the Government.
  7. The same analysis here suggests that the shared responsibility payment may for constitutional purposes be considered a tax, not a penalty.
  8. The reasons the Court in Drexel Furniture held that what was called a "tax" there was a penalty support the conclusion that what is called a "penalty" here may be viewed as a tax.
  9. The shared responsibility payment merely imposes a tax citizens may lawfully choose to pay in lieu of buying health insurance.
  10. We have already explained that the shared responsibility payment's practical characteristics pass muster as a tax under our narrowest interpretations of the taxing power.


Justice Robert's concluded his analysis by stating that Obamacare's "requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may…be characterized as a tax."