Democratic Leader Explains Obamacare: 'There's No Tax on Anybody Unless They Refuse'

By Patrick Burke | July 11, 2012 | 5:06pm EDT

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) (AP Photo)

– Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Wednesday that the Obamacare mandate does involve a tax--but explained that "there's no tax on anybody unless they refuse to buy insurance."

On Capitol Hill, Wednesday, asked Clyburn: “In voting to uphold the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, are you voting for a tax?”

The number three Democrat in the House replied, “Am I voting for a tax? Only on those freeloaders who don't purchase insurance.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. followed up with the question: “So is [Supreme Court Chief Justice] John Roberts wrong in calling it a tax?”

“No,” Clyburn replied. “Roberts said, I cannot find a way to uphold this under the Commerce Clause but I can find it under the taxing authority of the Congress,” replied Clyburn.

“Now there's a big difference in taxing authority and imposing a tax. Now that's what he said. And so I have no objection to that. So there's no tax on anybody unless they refuse to purchase their insurance,” he said.

In his majority opinion concerning Obamacare, Chief Justice John Roberts determined, “The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax."

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 244-185 to repeal Obamacare with Clyburn and all but 5 Democrats voting to uphold the law.

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