At a campaign speech this evening in Roanoke, Virginia, President Obama seemed to concede that his signature legislation, Obamacare, is in fact a "tax."
"Six million young people who did not have health insurance can now stay on their parents' plan and get health insurance," President Obama said, touting Obamacare, according to a rush transcript. "Seniors are seeing their prescription drug costs go down and, by the way, if you have health insurance, you are not getting hit by a tax."
The implication is obvious: Since those who "have health insurance ... are not getting hit by a tax," it seems to follow that those who do not have health insurance will get hit by a tax under Obamacare.
The central tenet of Obamacare is the individual mandate, which requires all Americans to have health insurance.
Last month the Supreme Court upheld most of Obamacare, and ruled that the individual mandate is a constitutional under Congress's power to tax Americans.
But, since the Supreme Court weighed in, President Obama and his team have mostly avoided calling Obamacare a tax, and suggest that it is instead a "penalty," a semantic distinction that would allow President Obama, the thinking goes, to have kept his promise not to raise taxes on those earning under $250,000 per year.
So either tonight was a slip up by the president, or it's a signal that he's ready to begin calling Obamacare what it is--a tax.