For starters, just to look at the law itself, the ACA specifically exempts some people from the requirement and says that there shall be no penalty imposed on them.
It then gives a list of ways someone still otherwise subject can have the penalty waived for "hardship."
Thus the penalty/tax is avoidable.
It is NOT levied on EVERY individual.
It is ONLY levied as a sur-tax on people who already are liable for the so-called income tax.
Intentionally or not, Roberts exposed the income tax as being very limited in an effort to find constitutionality for the ACA.
The answer is simple - the income tax does NOT apply to everyone.
Thus the ACA mandate does not apply to everyone.
If you are not required to file 1040s, or equivalent, you aren't required to report a purchased insurance plan.
The kicker is most likely, YOU are not required to file a 1040, etc. But you have been duped into ASKING to be treated as IF you were required.
And now that you have volunteered to pay a tax you probably don't owe, not only is it real difficult to change that situation, but you now either have to purchase health insurance, or pay more tax.
And for the record, the 16th amendment did NOT create a new class of taxation, that is, direct un-apportioned taxes.
It CLARIFIED that "income taxes" are NOT direct, thus they do not NEED to be apportioned.
They are, and always have been in the nature of an "excise" which is a tax upon a privilege.
Which begs the question, "what privilege is being taxed when they take money out of your check when you work?"
Do you not have an inalienable right to trade and acquire property to meet your needs and pursue your own happiness, especially at least to survive?
Of course you do.
And isn't it impossible to "tax" an inalienable right?
Of course it is.
So that means there MUST be some privilege somewhere there, or else, you've been duped into ASKING to be treated as IF you were enjoying a privilege.
And who is the IRS to tell you that you can't pay a tax you don't owe?
But you can be sure, once you CLAIM you owe the tax by filing forms, they'll be expecting you to pay up.
That's why your returns and W-4s can and will be used against you in court - to counter your frivolous claim that the tax does not apply to you, "Because you see your Honor, right here, the defendant thinks it DOES apply to them, because these forms are ONLY for people who the tax applies to and the defendant signed it under penalty of perjury that they believe themselves to be just such an individual - what the law defines as 'taxpayers'"
Get it now?
And if you are still wondering what the privilege is that Congress is taxing, and measuring the tax by the amount of income received from the privilege, take a look at the 1909 CORPORATE Tax Act. For that is where you will find the ever elusive definition of "income" (without modifiers like "gross" or "adjusted") and what the Supreme Court has plainly and clearly stated is to forever be used as the definition of "income" unless the States ratify a new Constitutional Amendment. (Congress cannot define "income" to mean whatever it wants, because the word appears in the 16th, and since the 1909 Act was the main source of contention at the time of ratification, the SCOTUS ruled that is what the People understood "income" to mean when they ratified the amendment, and so it will forever remain the definition, unless amended again)