Ryan’s Budget Also Has a Mandate

May 3rd, 2011 at 9:05 pm | 4 Comments |

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Slate reports

Even before President Obama’s new health reform law was enacted, Republicans insisted that its “individual mandate” was an “unprecedented” assault on individual freedom. They have branded this mandate, which would require that most Americans who can afford it carry health insurance or pay a tax penalty, is uniquely egregious because it “compels” people to buy a “commercial product”—a scarifying precedent for mandating the forced purchase of GM cars, health club memberships, or even the dreaded broccoli. A month ago, on March 28, 49 House Republicans signed a brief pushing all these rhetorical buttons in urging a federal appeals court in Atlanta to overturn the entire health care law on the ground that the mandate unconstitutionally “places Americans’ economic liberty at risk.”

Given this history, it would be surprising if Republicans were to endorse a comparably freedom-squelching measure in another bill. But on April 15, that is precisely what they did, when all but four of the 239-member House Republican Caucus approved the fiscal 2012 budget resolution implementing Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap to Prosperity” plan for massive tax and spending cuts.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • hisgirlfriday

    This headline is misleading but anyway I’m glad it brings attention to the Ryan budget’s tax provision regarding employer-based healthcare expenses suddenly being treated as income.

    I was not aware of this. I doubt most of the Republicans who voted for this tax increase on every single American who received health insurance through their employer were aware of this tax increase either.

    • lillyluminatus

      But it’s really not misleading. Seniors who opt not to become insured (the vast majority of whom simply would not be able to afford it under Ryan’s plan) will FORFEIT a lifetime’s worth of tax contributions to the “Medicare”/voucher system. Considering that the entire mandate is economic (i.e. the penalty is a $700 fine), this is every bit as a much of a mandate.

  • jamesj

    All of this wrangling about mandates in modern legislation is beside the point. The health insurance “mandate” is an idea conceived of and originally supported by Republican economists and lawmakers roughly 15 years ago. For anyone who followed that original policy debate, the current fiasco looks like madness.

  • Jim in DE

    Actually, the entire article is misleading. And the reason hgf (and the rest of us) wasn’t aware of the elimination of the exclusion of employer-provided healthcare from income, and the reason that Lazarus’s points in this article have been “little noticed by pundits or politicians,” in his words, is because, well, they don’t exist in the Ryan bill.

    Correction, May 4, 2011: This article originally referred to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, passed by the House in April. All such references should have been to Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future,” an earlier proposal that is more detailed than the budget resolution. (Return to top.)

    Seriously? That’s kind of a pretty big point to just tack on in a correction at the bottom of the article. It kind of undercuts Lazarus’s entire point for the article, no? Unless he’s just saying the Republicans are being inconsistent on the individual mandate, in which case — in NewsRadio parlance — I’d suggest he get in a time machine and go back to spring 2010, when he could be one of the first 5,000 pundits to write an article on that subject.