The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Changing the term from Penalty to Taxes makes the 'fee' a non-issue.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,019 times Debate No: 11923
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)




In a recent debate on Obama Care, I made a comment asking, "why it is that the government has the right to dictate people must buy from private companies or pay a penalty just to remain as a good standing citizen in this country."

A side comment was made in reply to this by davidwayne saying, "The only problem with this part of the legislation is the use of the word "penalty". Change "penalty" to "tax" and it becomes a non issue. The government certainly has the right to tax people who don't buy private insurance because those people will get free treatment at the emergency room on the tax payer's dime without the insurance. I'm not a huge fan of the mandate, but I will accept it in order to get the other parts of the legislation passed."


I find this to be absolutely false. For starters, this is an example of false rhetoric. The 'term' used to define this fee is only rhetoric which may or may not change the average person based on the context in how it is used. No matter the term used, this is a fee which is being charged people who choose not to supply money to private insurance companies as the new Obama Care bill is mandating citizens to do.

To be fair, my opponent has said that he is against the mandate (I assume he means the 'fee' not Obama Care in general). But he is wrong by saying that changing the terms makes this a non-issue. It is still a major issue no matter how you split it. He is also wrong as to the reasons why the "penalty" is put in place for those who do not buy into private insurance companies. That said, I will give him a chance to defend himself or to avoid this topic all together by not accepting the debate before I continue.

Thank you for listening to the opening remarks and I look forward to hearing your side of things davidwayne.


When I said changing the wording would make it a non-issue I meant in terms of constitutionality. The government has the right to levy taxes. The government also has the right to grant exemptions from taxes. If the penalty fee was relabeled the Emergency Room tax, and people with private insurance were exempt from this tax then there would be absolutely no constitutional argument against it.
Debate Round No. 1


For starters, the constitution itself does not grant the federal government the right to collect income taxes. The 16th amendment was added in the early 1900's ( So these taxes that you have come to know and embrace was actually an addition and not the intent of the founding fathers.

Additionally, this point you talk about the 'emergency room' is off base as well. There are people who are healthy, who do not visit doctors, who do not get emergency care, who do not wish to pay extra taxes or fees or penalties and who will not be using the health care system in any way, shape, or form. Those people, under Obama Care, must still pay this "tax". So now you want to tax Americans for a good or service which they don't use? That is no more fair than forcing the American public to purchase insurance from a private company.

Either way, Obama will not want to call this 'forced money transfer' as a tax because that would prove him directly breaking his promise of not taxing the middle class. And this tax for using the emergency room would need to be charged on the people who don't actually use the emergency room. So it still is quite a large issue.


You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. The 16th amendment is a ratified part of the constitution and thus law. The original "intent" of the founding fathers is irrelevant.

Whether or not you want to get emergency care is not important. If you are hit by a car and incapacitated you will be sent to the emergency room whether you want to be sent or not. They have to treat you. If you can't pay then the tax payers end up footing the bill. This scenario alone explains why an emergency room tax is completely fair.

I'm not concerned with Obama keeping his campaign promises. He has broken several already and I'm not crying in my cheerios. A politician breaking a campaign promise is not exactly a shocker. I am only concerned with the constitutionality of the mandate. Changing the fee to a tax with exemptions for people with private insurance solves that problem as I have already proven.
Debate Round No. 2


Your rare example of a car accident and being incapacitated is not true. Anyone who goes to the emergency room, with or without insurance gets billed. If they have insurance then they may or may not cover a portion of this, the rest is due from the person. Only if that person does not pay will the hospital try collecting government tax dollars as reimbursement. You are making it sound as though the ER is funded by tax payers and that is not even close to the case.

What about all those people who never use the ER? I haven't been to the ER in 30+ years of my life. And there are many people just like me who have never been to the ER. They are being forced to pay this "ER Tax" for other people to use the ER. That is still not right.

That said, I would like to use your own words against you by saying, "you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts." You have not come close to proving this bill is constitutional. People are being charged a "tax" without getting a good or service in return (for those who never use the ER). There is no constitutional law that supports the government taking money from a private citizen without that citizen getting income or some exchange for that tax.

Additionally, there has never been a Tax on an American Citizen which must be paid to stay in good standing with the country. Other taxes (such as on income), are only applied to those who collect income. A person who chooses to no work for a full year, not have money in the bank or the market or buy any goods will NOT have to pay taxes under our law (even if they have millions on dollars in their mattress). This law will mandate that Americans pay taxes without getting anything in return.

Also, this bill is arguably unconstitutional because, for the first time in American history, the federal government is trying to impose a law which would mandate a citizen to buy a good from a private industry. Never before has the government forced the people to buy anything from a private group.

Your statement saying you are, "...only concerned with the constitutionality of the mandate. Changing the fee to a tax with exemptions for people with private insurance solves that problem as I have already proven." could not be further from the truth. You, nor the white house, proved this bill to be constitutional.

For any federal law to be "constitutional," it must meet this minimum standard:
1)It must be within the limited federal powers enumerated in the Constitution
2)It must enjoy the support of the vast majority of "the governed," from which all federal powers are derived
3)It must not infringe upon the individual rights of any citizen
4)It must not infringe upon the rights of any state, protected by the Tenth Amendment
5)It must become law by way of legal legitimate legislative process
This Obama Care violates all 5 of these standards. (

Thank you for the debate David


It doesn't matter if you never use the emergency room. Paying the tax insures that you can if you need to. Its just like car insurance. The states make you pay for car insurance even if you have never been in a wreck. The reason is not necessarily to protect you, but to protect others your driving might effect. An emergency room tax would work in the same way. It protects others from the possibility of you using the emergency room and not paying. Whether it is fair or not is another debate. It is definately legal as I have shown with several examples.

Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by jonpistone2 7 years ago
LOL nice vote BDisaster haha!!
Posted by jonpistone2 7 years ago
Thanks for the debate...though its not the same as car insurance...since you have the CHOICE to buy car insurance and your insurance goes UP if you get in accidents (this bill doesn't do that for people who are already sick)...and if you CHOOSE to buy a car and drive it then you must get insurance...but you don't HAVE to drive it and therefore don't HAVE to have insurance for your car. nothing that mandates the purchase like this one.

again though...thanks for a nice was a quick one but fun for me, hope it was fun for your as well. would you enjoy a larger debate by chance???
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Marauder 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by BeautifulDisaster 7 years ago
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