White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says Republicans are “not telling the truth” when they say that Obamacare will raise taxes.
Carney was asked Friday about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the individual mandate within the president’s healthcare law by deeming it a tax on those who opt not to purchase insurance.
“You can call it what you want,” he said. “If you read the opinion, it is not a broad-based tax. It affects one percent, by CBO estimates, of the population. It is not something that you assess like an income tax.”
It was unclear which Congressional Budget Office estimate Carney was referring to. Despite being pressed on the issue, though, the spokesman would not relent.
“It’s a penalty because you have a choice,” he said. “You don’t have a choice to pay your taxes, right?…So if you don’t buy it, and you can afford it, it is an irresponsible thing to do to ask the rest of America’s taxpayers to pay for your care when you go to the emergency room. So your choice is to purchase health care reform or a penalty will be administered.”
Carney argued that Obama has significantly cut taxes for middle-class families, while Republicans are proposing doing the opposite in order to pay for a tax cut for the wealthy. He added that the healthcare law would cut taxes even more for the middle-class, an argument that has been contested by conservative tax policy watchdogs.
“If Republicans want to talk about taxes, then we’re happy to have that debate.”
Obama flew to Colorado Friday afternoon to tour an area near Colorado Springs that has been devastated by wildfires that have forced the evacuation of over 32,000 residents.