I agree with the outcome of the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, but not necessarily with Chief Justice Roberts' characterization of the penalty which must be paid by those who don't secure health insurance as a "tax." Congress has ample constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce, and the health care industry certainly impacts interstate commerce. Plain and simple, a penalty is not a tax; even if you pay the penalty to the IRS.
Nevertheless, sustaining the ACA was a good thing. I own a home in Kennewick. When someone without health insurance goes to the Kennewick General Hospital emergency room to seek medical treatment for a condition which could be handled much less expensively in a regular doctor's office, I end up paying part of the bill. How? Because a portion of my annual property taxes support KGH, and the person without insurance is not likely to pay their own hospital bill, so it won't get paid. If they had the money to pay the hospital, they would probably go to a regular doctor's office and pay cash for services.
What's the solution if not to require folks to have health coverage? Frankly, I am tired of waiting for advocates of the "sink or swim" approach to government to get specific about what to do with those of our fellow citizens who simply can't swim. Do we maintain a core of civility, or simply let them drown? I vote for civility, and universal access to adequate health care is certainly one plank in that boat. (I'm old; it's OK for me to mix my metaphors.)
-- Eric Nordlof, Kennewick