Photo by Chuck Coker/Flickr (Creative Commons) U.S. Constitution art, September 2008

It is a sad day for America. The Supreme Court upheld the Health Care Reform Act (better known as ObamaCare) today.  The decision came down in a 5 to 4 vote that ObamaCare was not unconstitutional because it is a tax, and therefore, does not fall under the Commerce Laws it had been challenged under.

The Supreme Court ruled that congress could not compel someone to purchase anything and therefore ObamaCare would be un-constitutional under the Commerce laws. “The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the prin­ciple that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers. The individual mandate thus cannot be sus­tained under Congress’s power to “regulate Commerce.” – Chief Justus Roberts.

However because congress had required the penalty to be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, the penalty was in fact ruled to be a tax, and therefore it falls under the tax code and could be upheld as a tax.

There actually could be great benefits with this ruling. What it does is, places restrains on the government so that it cannot regulate what you can and cannot buy or what you are required to purchase. Several current regulations could now be contested, such as the penalty for not having auto insurance or the New York City ruling that you can only purchase soda in 16oz quantities or less if it contains sugar.

It also opens the debate of increasing revenue by calling something a fee instead of a tax. Here in Colorado we have what is known as the Tabor Amendment that regulates the addition of new taxes. Due to that law, often new taxes are disguised as fees, the most obvious here in Colorado is all the bridge and road repair fees you are required to pay when you register your vehicle.