- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

President Obama promised never to raise taxes on the middle class, but he already has. The Supreme Court called the money Americans will owe the Internal Revenue Service if they fail to buy government-mandated health insurance in Obamacare a “tax.” Democrats think they can scam the American people by calling it a “penalty.” Republicans are making sure nobody falls for it.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives for the second time passed a full repeal of Obamacare, with five Democrats joining all the Republicans. “Most Americans not only oppose this law - they support repealing it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said during the debate. “The American people were told taxes on the middle class wouldn’t go up if this bill passed. Well, guess what? There are 21 tax increases in this health care law, and at least a dozen of them hit the middle class.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to get the repeal a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Mr. Obama is trying to avoid being associated with the health care taxes because they violate his pledge. In a speech in Iowa on Tuesday, Mr. Obama asked, “Doesn’t it make sense for us to agree to keep taxes low for 98 percent of Americans who are working hard and can’t afford a tax hike right now?” However, in the same speech, he said, “Our health care law was the right thing to do… this law is here to stay.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. declared the health care law constitutional because it falls under Congress’ power to tax, and that tax will hit American families hard. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it will result in at least $675 billion in new taxes over 10 years and at least $805 billion when the individual and business mandates are included.

Approximately 20 million Americans will either pay the tax or be forced to buy insurance they otherwise wouldn’t have purchased. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 4 million people will pay the tax rather than be forced into coverage. The cost will be $695 per person or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater.

Other taxes on the average American family include levies on health insurance providers, drug manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, high-cost plans (the “Cadillac tax”) and tanning booths - all of which will be passed along to the consumer. Obamacare raises revenue by limiting how much can be put into tax-free flexible savings accounts, decreasing the amount that can be expensed for medical costs and denying the use of health savings accounts to pay for over-the-counter drugs tax-free.

Like all taxes, those in the president’s health care plan make the government bigger and give it more control over our lives. Mr. Obama does not have the credibility on the tax issue so long as Obamacare is the law of the land.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.