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Letters: Healthcare and Congress' powers

July 06, 2012

Re "The limits on liberty," Editorial, July 4

This could be clearer. The individual mandate is a mandate to get insurance, with some people exempted. If one does not, a penalty applies, with some exempted; but the penalty is the only consequence imposed for not having insurance.

The Supreme Court did not label the individual mandate itself as being a tax. It upheld a use of the power to tax as a way to impose the penalty. Tax law has many provisions to spur or deter conduct. The court found that the penalty is of that nature: It discourages forgoing insurance.

The penalty itself does not even apply to anybody having insurance. It will likely affect only a tiny percentage of people, as it succeeds in spurring what the individual mandate actually does mean: Get health insurance.

John C. Nangle

Palm Springs

The Times writes that the Supreme Court "placed new limits on Congress' power." That's strange. Everything I've read explains that the court's decision on "Obamacare" actually expands Congress' powers. All it has to do is add a tax to mandate just about anything.

So the only way left to protect ourselves is to just vote them out next fall.

Dick Ettington

Palos Verdes Peninsula

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