Indeed, it is estimated that four million people each year will choose to pay the IRS rather than buy insurance. We would expect Congress to be troubled by that prospect if such conduct were unlawful.
The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.
TK: Health care wasn't sold as a "tax" but the Obama Administration will gladly accept the logic now. For the Republicans, the Supreme Court opinion has galvanized their resolve to repeal the legislation and defeat Obama. The election of 2012 will settle the matter finally.
And, by the way, if the industry wants consumers to eat more broccoli, the government can't force John Q. Public to consume green veggies. But Uncle Sam can tax the heck out of him if he doesn't buy it. And that is the lesson learned today.