Thought experiment time!
Suppose that Congress were to raise income tax rates across the board by X%. Coupled to this tax hike would be the introduction of a tax credit that would completely offset the tax increase, for which one need only provide proof of maintaining a health insurance policy that meets a certain set of standards to qualify.
Question 1: How is this functionally different from a tax ("penalty") imposed via the income tax system upon people who do not buy health insurance?
Question 2: If your answer to the above is that it is not different, then don't tax credits or deductions given for engaging in other behaviors (buying a house, having children) constitute an effective tax on not engaging in those behaviors?
My argument here is not that this is necessarily a good or bad thing. Simply that it is nothing new.
If you object to the state manipulating personal choices via the tax code, you've a great deal more to be upset about than health insurance. Of course, if you have kids and a mortgage, you have a considerable stake in the system and it is completely understandable that you might not object too strenuously.
Speaking as a person with a respectable income, no kids, and no mortgage, let me just say...you're welcome.