The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling — with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal justices — has dominated conversation in Washington since it was announced last Thursday.
Other courts, in upholding the mandate, had found it was constitutional because Congress has the ability to regulate interstate commerce.
The Justice Department had argued the law was constitutional both under the Commerce Clause and Congress’s taxing power.
Even with the Supreme Court ruling, President Obama and other top Democrats have argued that the mandate is not a tax, calling it instead a penalty for the fraction of people who decide against obtaining insurance.
For their part, top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have tried to latch on to the Supreme Court ruling – arguing that, because Democrats didn’t label the mandate a tax, they were dishonest while pushing for the legislation.
But on Monday, a top aide to Mitt Romney said the former Massachusetts governor does not believe the mandate is a tax. The healthcare bill that Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, helped pass in his state also contained a mandate. Romney has said he favors repealing the Democratic healthcare law.