From White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s press conference yesterday:

QUESTION: Thanks. This morning there was a spirited debate in the Senate Finance Committee about whether the proposed fee on people who would refuse to buy health insurance under the proposed plan, whether that would break the President’s pledge not to tax individuals who make less than $200,000 or families that make $250,000. Do they have a good point there?

MR. GIBBS: No. I think this is, again, one more game that we’ve seen in the roadblock to getting comprehensive health care reform. There is an individual mandate in this piece of legislation that the President supports. But something that’s charged to an individual that doesn’t have and can’t afford health insurance is a little bit like if you’re not complying with the law and you’re speeding. And I don’t think anybody would say that if you’re going too fast on the interstate that somehow somebody has raised your taxes. So I think that’s a silly argument that we can easily dispense with.

QUESTION: It’s called a tax in the House bill and the Finance Committee bill. It’s referred to as an excise tax.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I would — maybe the analogy on the speeding isn’t — I think it’s pretty clear.

Finder’s fee to Patterico guest-blogger DRJ, who asks: “So choosing to speed and getting a ticket is the same as choosing to breathe without health care and getting a health care ticket?”