Now that the Supreme Court has identified the mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act as a tax for Constitutional purposes, the conservative loonies are ballyhooing that claim to the heavens. Some, such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, are even calling it “the largest tax increase in U.S. history.”
First of all, whether or not it can actually be called a tax increase is a delicate and nuanced determination. Even if it is judged as such, so what? The only people who will be assessed the fee (tax?) are those who choose not to pay for health insurance coverage, thus becoming free-riders on the rest of the system. Even then, the fee to be assessed will only apply to about 1% of the American population at their own choice, and will be in the amount of either a flat $695 per year, or no more than 2.5% of adjusted net income. And I reiterate, it will only be by their own choice if they choose not to pay for a health insurance plan from among the many affordable and even subsidized plans that will be available.
As to the wild-eyed charges that this fee will be the largest tax increase in history, compare it some other recent tax increases in American history in the chart below. I think the lie being told by some elements of the conservative media and political machine will be immediately apparent.