Most of President Barack Obama's signature accomplishment, the national health care law, is constitutional, the Supreme Court has ruled. That does not make the mandate right, however.
For several reaons unrelated to the statute's constitutionality, "Obamacare" is, as it was when enacted, a bad idea for Americans.
First, of course, is the central argument taken to the court in the first place, about the mandate that all Americans must obtain government-approved insurance or pay fines. The court, as Chief Justice John Roberts explained, decided the fines are constitutional because they are taxes. Ironically, liberals supporting the health care overhaul had for quite some time argued the penalties should not be viewed as taxes.
The law will force tens of millions of people to either spend more on health insurance or pay the fines. That indeed has the effect of levying an enormous tax, second only to the income tax, on many people who struggle to make ends meet.
Another reason the law is wrong for Americans is the indirect cost. States will be forced to expand their Medicaid programs, though the court insisted it was offering some relief from that provision. In some states that will cost billions of dollars after the federal government stops paying the additional expense, in three years.
Public opinion polls show most people think Obamacare is too expensive and is an infringement upon their rights. Congress should do the right thing - and repeal it.