Tax confusion dogs politics of health care and gasoline

The oil and gas industry can relate to confusion over what constitutes a tax, which figured prominently in the historic June 28 decision by the US Supreme Court upholding health-care reform. The court ruled Congress can make people buy health insurance by virtue not of its constitutional authority to regulate commerce, as had been argued, but rather of its power to tax. So the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, stands. And it turns out to have been a new tax—an identity Congress was loath to sanction when it passed the federal government's blitz of medicine in 2010. Well, it's a tax now. The Supreme Court says so. Lawmakers who supported the then-not-a-tax health bill and survi...

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