Whoops: Obama Describes Individual Mandate as a ‘Tax’

Obama mandate tax
President Barack Obama described his health care law as a "tax" during a campaign event in Virginia on Friday. (AP)

Despite earlier claims by the White House that the individual mandate is a “penalty” not a tax, President Barack Obama on Friday used the word “tax” to describe his health care overhaul during a campaign rally in Virginia.

“By the way, if you’ve got health insurance, you’re not getting hit by a tax,” Obama said during a campaign event in Roanoke, Va. “The only thing that’s happening to you is that you now have more security because insurance companies can’t drop you when you get sick.”

It doesn’t appear the president misspoke or made a mistake, as he made no attempt to walk back his statement or correct himself.

(Related: WH Chief of Staff: It Doesn’t Matter That We Argued Health Care reform Is a Tax in Court – It’s Not a Tax)

White House press secretary Jay Carney said last month the mandate is “a penalty because you have a choice” to buy insurance or pay the the “penalty” fee.

Mitt Romney’s campaign initially called the individual mandate a penalty, however Romney later said it was a “tax” because the Supreme Court’s ruling was final.

Watch the video of President Obama describing his health care law as a “tax” here:

(h/t: Politico)