The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice has defended the insurance mandate, contained in the recent healthcare legislation, as a tax. The primary justification remains the power to regulate interstate commerce. The taxation argument, according to the article, represents a secondary justification.
I have previously argued that the administration should defend the mandate as a commercial regulation and as a tax. During the healthcare debates, however, the White House said that the mandate was not a tax. I grimaced. Cooler, less political heads, have apparently prevailed during the litigation. Certainly, the mandate is not a general income tax. It only impacts individuals who are uninsured and who do not qualify for insurance subsidies.