It’s official: Obamacare is Obamatax. The Supreme Court saved Obamacare but at the expense of exposing it as simply a massive collection of taxes - 20 taxes at least. Obamacare was supposed to reduce the cost of health insurance but it has six taxes on Americans who already have health insurance. Your insurance will cost more to pay Mr. Obama’s tax hikes.
Obamacare was supposed to “bend the cost curve down” but it has a tax on medical devices. What medical devices? Braces for your kids. A stent for your heart. A wheelchair. All the cool stuff you see in hospitals will now cost more in order to pay Mr. Obama’s tax on medical devices.
Obamacare has a tax on lifesaving drugs. Great - now our drugs will cost more. Obamacare raises taxes on making new drugs by $2.3 billion a year. And you will pay it.
Obamacare promised that you would be able to keep your insurance. Not if you have a Health Savings Account - that is hit with new tax penalties. Just try and buy over-the-counter nonprescription drugs pre-tax with your HSA - not anymore. Your Flexible Spending Account is now going to be taxed so that parents who use these insurance accounts to take care of special-needs children will find part of their own life savings taxed away to Washington. And if you have insurance that Washington bureaucrats have decided on your behalf is too good, then you pay part of the $32 billion Mr. Obama is adding in new taxes on those with “too much, too good” health insurance.
Obamacare even has a tax on charitable hospitals.
Seven of the Obamacare taxes directly hit middle-income Americans. So much for Mr. Obama’s promise to never raise “any form” of tax on anyone earning less than $250,000.
There is a tax on tanning services. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg won’t let you have soft drinks he doesn’t approve of. Obamacare taxes you 10 percent if you want a tan and cannot get a free ride to the sun on Air Force One.
Twenty taxes comprise the total that raise the cost of health care, trash your present insurance and ability to save for future health needs.
What if you get really sick and have very high medical bills? In the past, you could deduct high medical bills from your taxable income when they were above 7.5 percent of your total income. Mr. Obama thinks that is being too nice to sick people and raises the limit to 10 percent. Perhaps the theory is that taxing sick people will lead to fewer sick people.
Much focus has been placed on one of the 20 tax hikes. That is the tax hike on Americans who fail to submit to the “mandate” that you buy health insurance chosen for you by the government. You may buy any color Model T you wish as long as it is black. You may have any health insurance package the government picks out for you.
Is this mandate a tax? Well, the tax on your failure to cooperate is collected by the Internal Revenue Service. The rules are written in the Internal Revenue Code. The tax is paid on your 1040 federal income tax return. And the Congressional Budget Office takes the money and counts it as tax revenue pouring into the general fund.
Common sense tells us that if the government takes stuff from you by force, it is a tax. It certainly isn’t a voluntary contribution.
Four justices of the Supreme Court looked at Obamacare and said the whole thing was an unconstitutional power grab by Washington. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., however, announced that the federal government can do anything - anything at all - if it goes through the nicety of using the bludgeon of a tax hike to force you to submit. Do this - or we tax you $1,000. Do this or the government takes $10,000. Do this or the government takes everything you have. All perfectly constitutional, according to Justice Roberts.
In total, the tax hikes in Obamacare total somewhere between $500 billion and $800 billion over the next decade. Some taxes were delayed to make this number look smaller. If Mr. Obama is re-elected and the tax increases become permanent, then in the first 10 years of full implementation, tax hikes will approach $1 trillion.
So if Mr. Obama is re-elected, we know one thing. The 20 tax hikes that are Obamacare will be permanent tax increases raising the cost of your health care, drugs and health insurance.
And this collection of 20 tax hikes are in addition to the tax increases Mr. Obama’s election would trigger as the Republican tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 lapse. The marriage penalty returns. The per-child tax credit falls from $1,000 to $500. Tax rates increase for all Americans. The death tax jumps up to 55 percent of your life savings over $1 million. The capital gains tax jumps to 23.8 percent. The tax on dividends triples. The cost in Year One of a renewed contract for Mr. Obama: $500 billion. It will be $5 trillion over the next decade.
A vote for Mr. Obama is a vote for more than $5.5 trillion in higher taxes over the next 10 years. A vote for Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress will repeal all 20 of Obamacare’s taxes and extend all the lapsing tax hikes so Congress can reform the tax code without a tax increase.
There is, too, a dime’s worth of difference between the parties - 55 trillion dimes.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and co-author of “Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future” (Wiley, 2012).