"For years, Mitt Romney has been defending not only his bill that he pushed forward [as governor of] Massachusetts, but also this as a penalty that was essential to taking into account the people who weren't paying for health insurance who could afford it," Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States Jennifer Psaki said Thursday.
"The President agreed with him," she said.
Psaki, along with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, fielded press questions aboard Air Force One Thursday morning, as President Barack Obama traveled to Ohio to begin a series of campaign appearances.
Romney's campaign had said Monday the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act was a penalty but Romney Wednesday said it is a tax. His position does not necessarily run counter to last week's Supreme Court Ruling, Carney said.
"But if I could just add as a matter of policy, it is simply a fallacy to say that this is a broad-based tax," Carney said. "That's not what the opinion stated that was authored by the Chief Justice. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional under Congress' taxing authority, but this is clearly a penalty that affects less than 1 percent of the American population."
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