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Obama Solicitor General: People Can Avoid the Individual Mandate by Choosing to Earn Less Money

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By Doug Powers  •  June 2, 2011 04:11 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Don’t like the individual mandate in Obamacare and can’t get a waiver? No problem — just be poor.

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner:

President Obama’s solicitor general, defending the national health care law on Wednesday, told a federal appeals court that Americans who didn’t like the individual mandate could always avoid it by choosing to earn less money.

Neal Kumar Katyal, the acting solicitor general, made the argument under questioning before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, which was considering an appeal by the Thomas More Law Center. (Listen to oral arguments here.) The three-judge panel, which was comprised of two Republican-appointed judges and a Democratic-appointed judge, expressed more skepticism about the government’s defense of the health care law than the Fourth Circuit panel that heard the Virginia-based Obamacare challenge last month in Richmond. The Fourth Circuit panel was made up entirely of Democrats, and two of the judges were appointed by Obama himself.

Having to earn less money to avoid being forced to purchase a product a little like having to buy freedom and pay for it with freedom.

Here’s the exchange:

“They’re in the business,” [Judge] Sutton pushed back. “They’re told if you’re going to be in the business, this is what you have to do. In response to that law, they could have said, ‘We now exit the business.’ Individuals don’t have that option.”

Kaytal responded by noting that the there’s a provision in the health care law that allows people to avoid the mandate.

“If we’re going to play that game, I think that game can be played here as well, because after all, the minimum coverage provision only kicks in after people have earned a minimum amount of income,” Kaytal said. “So it’s a penalty on earning a certain amount of income and self insuring. It’s not just on self insuring on its own. So I guess one could say, just as the restaurant owner could depart the market in Heart of Atlanta Hotel, someone doesn’t need to earn that much income. I think both are kind of fanciful and I think get at…”

Sutton interjected, “That wasn’t in a single speech given in Congress about this…the idea that the solution if you don’t like it is make a little less money.”

Of course Obamacare proponents in Congress didn’t address that in any of their pitches for the law, Judge — that would have required reading it and ruining the terrific surprise of finding out what’s in it.

Klein has much more here if you dare.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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