Rep. Ruppersberger: ‘I Didn’t Tell My Constituents It Was a Tax’

By Amanda Swysgood and Jon Street | June 28, 2012 | 5:30pm EDT

Holding a sign saying "We Love ObamaCare" supporters of health care reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Go ahead, call it Obamacare. Obama’s re-election campaign has lifted an unofficial ban on using the opposition’s derisive term for his health care law. Democratic activists have been chanting, "We love Obamacare," in front of the Supreme Court. And the campaign is selling T-shirts and bumper stickers that proclaim: "I like Obamacare." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

( - Following a historic ruling from the Supreme Court, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) told Thursday on Capitol Hill that the individual mandate in the health care law is a tax, but he didn’t tell his constituents it was a tax. asked Ruppersberger, “Is the individual mandate in the health care law a tax?”

“As far as I’m concerned, the fact that we pay, everybody who pays premiums a thousand dollars a year in premiums for those uninsured, that’s a tax for you, for me, for all Americans. Now, is it a tax? The Supreme Court has spoken. That’s the law of the land. They’ve said it’s a tax. It’s a tax,” he said.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court voted Thursday to uphold the entire health care law, including the individual mandate. Chief Justice Roberts, confirming the constitutionality of the law, said in his opinion that the mandate could reasonably be a tax. asked Ruppersberger if he told his constituents it was a tax.

“No, I didn’t tell my constituents it was a tax, and they even thought the opinion would come out that way to be honest with you. If I was a betting person, I was surprised that the Supreme Court upheld the health care bill,” he said.

Ruppersberger added that he thinks it is important to lower the cost of insurance premiums.

“I think it’s now time to continue to work through the issues of health care. I think it’s really important from a health care perspective that we do better delivery, and we’ve got to find a way to bring the premiums down.”

The president’s health care law is aimed to do just that: to lower insurance premiums by requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance, a provision referred to as the “individual mandate.”

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