By upholding the health care law's individual mandate under Congress' constitutional taxing power, the Supreme Court has declared that the federal government can now levy a tax on Americans for inactivity.
Imagine what a future Congress could tax you for not doing next: not eating fruits and vegetables, not buying an electric car, not exercising daily to the government's standards -- just to name a few. The possibilities of Congress' taxing power are now seemingly endless and frightening.
While the Court's ruling is disappointing and alarming, the fact remains that we must continue working to repeal this destructive law. In addition to increasing the cost of health care, reducing choice in health coverage and permanently damaging Medicare, the health care law includes a slew of new tax increases -- twenty-one of them, in fact.
Taken together, the tax hikes are costly. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation currently estimates the law will raise taxes by $675 billion over ten years, but the final total will likely be closer to $800 billion. Of the twenty-one tax increases, a dozen of them target families earning less than $250,000 per year, violating the President's promise to prevent tax increases on middle- and low-income Americans.
Unfortunately, these tax hikes hit taxpayers from such a variety of angles, it is hard to avoid them. Some of the taxes, like a "Cadillac tax" on high-cost insurance plans, affect consumers directly and upfront. Other taxes, such as new taxes on health insurance companies and drug manufacturers, will increase the prices of health insurance and prescriptions as companies are forced to pass the costs on to consumers.
This vast group of tax increases makes everyone's favorite federal agency the health care law's official enforcement cop: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The agency's responsibilities will only add to federal bureaucracy; for instance, the IRS may have to hire as many 16,500 new auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions of the law's new taxes.
So much for the health care law protecting taxpayers.
We cannot allow these issues to fade from the front pages. The costs to Americans are far too great. That is why the House revisited repeal of the Affordable Care Act last week, voting 244-185 to nullify the law in its entirety.
Doing so carries out the will of the people. Americans have consistently favored repeal by double-digit margins, even after the Supreme Court's decision. Their trepidation toward the law should come as no surprise. The Affordable Care Act remains a disaster for patients and their doctors, small businesses and future generations of Americans.
As such, House Republicans will continue to highlight the failures of the law and work to ensure that they do not harm Americans. Our fight to repeal will press on for as long as it takes.