As a political strategy, the Obama administration and Democrats had argued that forcing Americans to buy health insurance was not a "tax." Admitting that it was a tax would have made it more difficult for Democrats to vote for it. But it turns out that the Supreme Court's rationale for declaring that the mandate provision is constitutional is that it is in fact a "tax" that Congress that is empowered to pass.
For further clarification, check out DonB's comment elsewhere on my blog, the Barbershop.
Here is Obama saying that it's definitely not a tax.
Filed under: Health care reform