March 24th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should gov't be able to force you to have insurance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Health care reform is now the law of the land... and part of that law is that everyone has to have insurance. Those who don't could be fined.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/24/art.surgeon.jpg caption=""]
The law creates penalties in the tax code as an incentive to buy insurance...

For example, by 2014 - an adult who doesn't have insurance would have to pay $95 or one-percent of their income... whichever is more.

In 2016, that penalty increases to almost $700 per person... and about $2,000 per household, or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is more.

The penalty is only enacted if you go more than three months a year without health insurance; and it doesn't apply to everyone.

Some people are exempt - including those at the lowest income levels, people in prison or objecting on religious grounds, or members of Native American tribes.

Massachusetts has had a similar penalty system tied to its health insurance system for a few years. In 2008 - the state fined about 1.5 percent of all taxpayers.

Critics, including some Republicans, say this system means the Internal Revenue System will need to hire many new agents, and that the IRS will be "more deeply involved in our lives than ever before."

But Democrats say the IRS has been able to implement other new taxes without major problems; and President Obama insists that the only way to make insurers cover everyone is for everyone to be required to buy health insurance.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government be able to force you to have insurance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Michael in Dallas, Texas writes:
The government forces me to give it part of my income. It tells me how fast to drive. It forces everyone who needs a license to work to prove that we are good enough. In some areas of this country, government tells us how and where we can build a house, how well we must tend the lawn and even what colors we might paint it. We are forced to have liability insurance to drive and government allows mortgage lenders to force us to have home owner’s insurance. As government ends up picking up the tab for those without health insurance and need for care, why shouldn’t it be allowed to require health insurance?

Barbara writes:
I'm failing to find the logic in being required to buy insurance when I can't afford the premiums. And if I could, I likely wouldn't be able to afford to use it with the co-pays and deductibles. There is something not right about being required to buy something I can't afford to use. Or am I missing something here?

Rob writes:
All communist states can demand anything from their citizens. You must be confusing us with another democratic country to ask such a question, comrade.

Terry writes:
Governments sometime need to act in the common good. Health care insurance is a necessity to safe-guard against unanticipated financial risk or ruin. Most states require auto insurance and I don't hear Americans complaining that they need to carry public liability or face penalty and/or an inability to register a vehicle.

Sean in Maine writes:
Nothing like government using the I.R.S. to force you to fork over your money to a giant insurance corporation. No matter who wins elections, or what progress we seem to make, Corporate America ALWAYS wins. Unbelievable.

Filed under: Government • Health care
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. mike saunders

    In Canada the government takes the health care money from our paychecks, this is done by the provincial(state) government.It is around 60-70.00 p/month. vey affordable. unfortunately there was such opposition to a government run plan, what other choice is there. We shouldn't be shocked as we all have to have vehicle licences. registration,drivers licences,and car insurance by law.You get fined and possibly even jail time if you don't pay your fines. I can understand why some people would be upset but we already have to do similar things. If you get caught fishing w/o a fish licence the gov't can take your boat, rv etc. There are these mandatory things that are required by law.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  2. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Never in this country's history have we been required by the federal government to buy anything from a private company. it goes against everything this country was founded on. Heatlhcare was not for the federal government to decide. You said it yourself. Massachusetts requires its citizens to buy health insurance. Great, if you want that, move to Mass. If you don't "vote with your feet". It's a state issue that has no bearing on the federal government, unless you count ignoring our illegal immigrant population. If California wants to require it, then put it on the ballot and let the people vote for it. The Federal government has no business dictating this kind of decision for people unless their motivation is purely power driven. It's a sad day comrade Cafferty.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  3. Valerie -- North Carolina Senior Citizen

    North Carolina requires we have car insurance to protect other drivers. We should all purchase healthcare insurance if possible and, if not, the govt. should help with payments. We, the average citizen, are already paying through the nose for those who do not have insurance and go to the Emergency Room for treatment. Sometimes it is necessary to force some people to do the right thing.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  4. Gil Skipper


    All this lack of truth and hate sounds and smells just like precivil war of early 1800s. Slavery might be died but greed and selfness is still alive and growing.

    They says they do what they do for the good of the country. But what are the golds of the terrorist of overseas. It seems we have home terrorist as well. They spread violence in the forms of hate, mistrust, fear, physical and mental harm, division and threats of financial collapse.

    These people need to stop and think – what is best for the country not the party. Parties come and go – people live and died, but the land remains – its name may change, but it remains.

    Gil Skipper

    March 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  5. Bev

    Yes, that way noone can complain that everyone isn't paying their own way.

    Are the Republicans gravitating toward the Sunni's or the Shites?
    Purple ink please.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  6. Juanita (Saint Louis, Mo)


    Why not, you are forced to have auto insurance, isn't life more precious.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Simon/Orlando

    Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the government can force us to buy anything from a private company. This is a real game changer for America. If they can do this, they can pass laws to control every aspect of our lives. Next time they could pass a law that says we can only buy an American made car, which I'm sure the unions are lobbying for at this very moment.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Rob

    YES I DO, all communist states can demand anything from their citizens, you must be confusing us with another democratic country to ask such a question comrade.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  9. Barbie from Hollywood, CA

    YES! There are far too many people who CAN afford it, but think they don't need it until they're older, or until they are expecting a child. Few of those people ever consider that they could be struck by a falling tree, a drunk driver, someone on a bicycle, falling debris from a natural disaster, or by tripping on their own stairs. It's only after they've been hurt, or are close friends or a family member of someone who suffers a tragedy, that they may realize we're all vulnerable. If they drive a car, they need insurance. If they own a home, they need insurance. If they are a human being instead of a super-hero, THEY NEED INSURANCE. None of us can foresee tomorrow. We should take responsibility for ourselves TODAY, instead of believing our right to be treated in the E.R. is covered by what we already have to pay. That's just selfish and stupid.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  10. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    The Government forces me to give it part of my income. It tells me how fast to drive. It forces everyone who needs a license to work to prove that we are good enough. In some areas of this country Government tells us how and where we can build a house, how well we must tend the lawn and even what colors we might paint it. We are forced to have liability insurance to drive and Government allows mortgage lenders to force us to have home owner’s insurance.
    As Government ends up picking up the tab for those without health insurance and need for care, why shouldn’t it be allowed to require Health insurance?

    March 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  11. Brandon, Ky

    I believe it should still be voluntary. I agree with the health care bill mostly. I just dont like that if you choose not to have insurance you will be fined by the IRS. I choose to have insurance, and will pay what ever needs to be paid. However, as a young adult I didnt need it and it was just a burden to have it.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  12. For My President

    I am behind my President and the republicans needs to stop acting like a bunch of spoil brates. If there are any threats made against the Democrats there will be a riots like you never seen before

    March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  13. Barbara

    I'm failing to find the logic in being required to buy insurance when I can't afford the premiums and if I could I likely wouldn't be able to afford to use it with the co-pays and deductibles. There is something not right about being required to buy something I can't afford to use. Or am I missing something here?

    March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  14. Ed's Kate

    Why not? I live in Massachusetts where we have had a health insurance system that ties a state fine into it and only an extremely small percentage of taxpayers have been fined. So what's the big deal!
    This system was introduced by REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR MITCH ROMNEY when he was Governor of Massachusetts. When it is now being done for the whole country all of a sudden the Republicans think the same type of insurance is terrible. Go figure. I guess they don't think much of Mitch Romney's intelligence when it comes to health insurance. I wonder about these people. Where is their sense of decency when it comes to the ordinary citizen. All they think of are the Lobbyists and the Rich of this country.
    I want to make it clear I firmly believe in bi-partianship and at this point in our country, I am so disgusted with what is going on in Washington I am nauseated.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  15. Brian

    That's a loaded question Jack, and you are feuling the fire. The word "force" is combative within itself. No one wants to be forced to do anything. Yes, the government should be able to "require" you to have health insurance. The same way we are required to pay taxes. That's just the way our country works. I've seen enough hatred in the news today Jack, I hope the media works harder to defuse the hatred with future questions.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  16. Cecilia Grajeda

    Yes. If you believe in personal responsibility, then what is more responsible than making sure everyone has medical coverage? It is unfair for those individuals who choose to remain uninsured to force the rest of us to pay for their foolish actions..... Duarte, California...

    March 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  17. Brandon

    I think if having insurance is going to be mandatory, then having a job or proving you cant work should be as well. Im fine with paying for people that can not work. Not so joyful about paying for a bum who knows how to play the system.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  18. AL

    I wouldn't understand why someone wouldn't want to provide themselves or his/her family with health insurance... I think one would be negligent in thinking that they're better off without insurance... health first...

    March 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  19. Gail S. Herd

    Why not? The State of Texas forces me to insure my car-why not my health? Livingston, Texas

    March 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  20. KathyNurse

    I've been a nurse for 30 years and have seen it all. Yes everyone needs healthcare..... I gave Chemo and I saw many the young people with no insurance lose everything so they could get on public aid which cost us all too. The care in recent years has become substandard for those without insurance. You get worse care then those with healthcare and get the substandard medications. Your changes of dieing are much greater with no health insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  21. Mr. X

    No, the government should not be allowed to force us to have any insurance. If you're in the military that's one thing, however, if people are dumb enough to not get insurance then let them be the one to pay an arm and a leg to fix thier car or fix themselves. Penalizing the US Citizens for not having health insurance is just the start of more penalties against us, like car insurance, renters insurance, and so on. Those people that can't afford health insurance or don't know the "loop holes" that are living in so called "fear" should get out of this so called "protective" bubble and maybe get a second job or get a better job. Put your pride in your pocket and take a degrading job to support yourself if your so scared of the inevitable.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  22. Brandon

    I believe it should still be an issue of choice. I am a young adult that rarely ever uses insurance at all. I do have it through my job though. I see it as a burden really, there are very few jobs for young adults at this time and now those jobs will have to cover another expense. Im not sure they know you cant work at mickey dees and pay for rent, electricity, water, and car insurance plus what ever expenses are needed just to live.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  23. Arian in CA

    I dont think so although I understand that it was a necessary evil to get some sort of Healthcare reform passed. Outside of a public option Insurance companies have no incentive to lower cost that continue to rise every year.

    The mandate was bone thrown to the insurace companies to extend coverage to the uninsured, ashame we have to deal with the insurance slimeballs but what could you do... 🙂

    March 24, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  24. chuk

    Jack, why do the Republicans questions Obama and the Democrats who will foot the healthcare bill?...Can you ask them to tell you who paid the Iraq and Afghan wars . Guess who did?...I thought as much......we the people paid the war bills with our tax money. That's right. Enough hoopla about the health bill......it is the right thing to do. healthcare for everyone. Whats the fuss?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  25. Vince

    The government already forces you to have insurance, i.e. social security which is retirement insurance and medicare which is healthcare insurance for people 65 and older. If the government had expanded Medicare to all citizens, would that be unconstitutional? That would be forcing health insurance on everyone. If so, Medicare itself is unconstitutional. The only difference is the healthcare bill implements the force via private insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  26. Frank Guarino


    Assume we want everyone to have health care. We know Congress did not have the guts to go for Universal Health Care or a Single Payer system.
    This means requiring everyone to have insurance is the only way to keep the cost down by making sure the healthy and unhealthy are in the same insurance pool.
    When you have health care insurance provided by your employer, you forget about the less fortunate.

    Memphis, TN

    March 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  27. Mimi

    The Government forces everyone to have automobile insurance, don't they. "The People" use medical insurance more than auto insurance. Every other developed country has a wonderful health care system for their people ... save the great USA. We have this inflated idea of how wonderful we are and how we know more than anyone else. Exactly who was it who died and left us BOSS? We have become so arrogant in this country and now the devil has reared it's ugly head once again over this health care issue. I think it all boils down to racism. If McCain had won the presidency and had done the very same thing regarding health care for this country, I truly believe none of this would be happening. I am grateful McCain did not win and I have been fearful for President Obama ever since he did. We've always had a lot of crazies in this country and with our ridiculous lack of gun control who knows what will happen next. I've traveled extensively and spent a lot of time in Europe. They pretty much think we're nuts over here and I really don't have an argument for that. It's embarrassing.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  28. Chuck Barker

    Well, if we can be forced to buy car insurance, health insurance should be a no-brainer.

    Longview, TX

    March 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  29. Karl from SF, CA

    When you drive a car, you have the capability to do damage to persons and property, so you are required to have insurance so as to not put a hardship on those you might injure, like someone would by driving without insurance. Anyone with the capability to become ill, which is everyone, should be required to have health insurance so they don’t put a hardship on taxpayers to pay for their medical treatment in an emergency room, or other facility, due to their irresponsibility. We pay into Social Security, which includes disability coverage, and Medicare all our working lives to have it when we need it and health insurance should have the same priority.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  30. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Should nature be able to force you to have cancer? Should circumstance force you to have an auto accident? Should we all be forced to live with mans inhumanity to man, or with things that are simply beyond our control? Should we be forced to be WITHOUT health insurance because of rising prices, pre-existing conditions, illness, birth defect, race, rightwing ideology, or corporate greed???

    March 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  31. Mike - Idaho

    Jack – I am already forced to pay for the uninsured via a portion of my taxes, health costs and insurance premiums. It is sad that Washington is so dysfunctional that they see victory in simply accomplishing something regardless of whether it actually results in any good. I can't wait to see what the fix for social security will be...I am sure there is money left to borrow four or five generations downstream.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm |

    Jack you should have another question which people should be refuse coverage by the insurance company because of pre – existing conditions. People tend to think they don't need insurance when they are healthy. But ,when they find out they're not Superman and they can get sick and injured, then they go out to buy insurance. This cost more because they did not pay any premiums. The people in this country is more about I and not we.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  33. Jay

    No we should not as a American people be forced to have health insurance.It should be a choice.It's unamerican and unethical.Gov't insurance is like forced lawfullly mandated auto insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  34. Jesse J Vancouver Canada

    Hi Jack,

    Yes, it should be mandatory... just like wearing a seat belt in your car.

    To make it easier the Fed should open up its employee health insurance to everyone so that we can all buy into it. They have about a million employees nation wide so adding 32 million more would only lower the costs for everyone!

    I can't wait for the day when it is a single payer system and people all look at each other and ask why was there all the fuss.

    Jesse J
    Vancouver Canada

    March 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  35. Scott

    The government has no right to force us to buy anything. Who are they to tell us how to run our lives? They are not our parents.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  36. Edward

    Either provide health insurance to everyone through a tax like Medicare or let us decide individually whether or not we want to purchase private health insurance. Forcing us to buy a defective product is not only a twisted way of achieving universal health coverage but also just plain stupid.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  37. Floyd

    either way we will have to pay this issue getting out of hand I' afraid the republican and racist tea party members are going to start a war against the poor

    March 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  38. Jan Ellichman

    I would love to know how much it costs the IRS per year fbecause of Americans who don't file a tax return and avoid paying their taxes. And in conjunction with that, I'd like to know an estimate of how much the government will earn, after paying 17,000 new IRS employees to check up on Americans who choose to not get health insurance. I'm not even concerned about the political issue, just the economic issue.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  39. Ian

    Yes Jack, if you don't have health insurance and get injured, your emergency care is going to be paid for by the tax payers, that's not fair.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  40. Bill H.

    They already do, Jack. You've never heard of auto insurance? Give the cranky old man routine a rest will ya?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  41. K-Dawg

    Absolutely not! What is this...the former Soviet Union? The federal government cannot force its citizens to buy anything! This is totally un-constitutional. The attorney general in my state is filing a lawsuit against this heinous health care reform, and God bless him!

    Greeley, Colorado

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  42. Leonard Thomas

    Force is a loaded word. The question should be, "Should the government be able to" charge an extra tax when you do not "have insurance?"

    Not having the health insurance results in a tax penalty. Phrasing it differently, persons who get health insurance get a tax break. I see the above loaded question as just twisting the wording of the law to suit some political viewpoint.

    The government forces choices on individuals much worse than the choice of suffering from a tax penalty for not having insurance or having health insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  43. Dolores Surprise AZ

    What is the difference in that and being required to have car insurance. The first thing they ask you if you get stopped for speeding etc is license and proof of insurance. This would be the same I would think.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  44. Alex Baker

    In California the state has forced us to have automotive insurance for decades. What's the difference? California isn't a socialist state.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  45. Bruce - Delaware

    NO! In fact I am beginning to think we need a massive elimination of most laws and other silly behavior controls. It is time for humanity to emerge as self empowered in all ways.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  46. Lynn

    I find this completely acceptable for all those who can afford some sort of health insurance. I mean, we've been required to purchase car insurance for years.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  47. Robert

    Why don't we teach civics in school anymore? It's called the social contract – we each have responsibilities attached with living in a civilized society (though the voice mails for Cong Stupak make that concept questionable. Of course, we should have insurance. Of course, the government's role is to ensure that we live safely.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  48. Banned in Hartwell GA

    If the government can take my country, and therefore everyone in it to war half a world away with a country not invading us, at full cost to us, and at the risk and loss of many of our citizens..., then surely the government can make us buy insurance.
    Hartwell GA

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  49. Annabella

    The government already forces us to have car insurance. We are also forced to have insurance on our homes by the mortgage companies. How is this different?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  50. Matt Davis

    No. N-O no! The low-income exemption may not go low enough for some people this will punish. And the government should not do this unless they plan to provide national health care.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  51. Joseph in TX

    Assuming that the government adequately regulates insurers, I see no reason not to make it mandatory. The Netherlands does it and has some of the cheapest care per capita in the world. People will cry doom and gloom, but then again they always do. Why even listen to them?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  52. Austin Smith

    Since when is it lawful to have to pay someone to breathe air?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  53. Tarek

    Why not? I get a ticket if I get stopped by cops and don't have proof of insurance! I can't close on a house unless I have insurance here. So...Why Not?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  54. D. Nero

    Health insurance is a DUH. Americans are humans... Humans get sick... Get insured or we'll all pay in the end. I say again. DUH

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  55. Matt

    Jack, its no different than car insurance....you have to have it otherwise you get fined if caught without. I really dont understand why people are whining.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  56. Ken in NC

    Americans are such great people that we will pay our Taxes, Insurances, Medicare Taxes, Social Security, and other now required fees without a mandate. We don’t need State and Federal laws to tell us what, when and how much to pay to the government. Just let us do it on our own. TRUST us Jack.

    Need I say more?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  57. Dave P

    When these people without insurance get very sick or injured they show up in our emergency rooms, and if they can't or won't pay, we pay *for them*. If people want the freedom to go without insurance, they should accept that we will let them go without any care from the rest of us.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  58. Kathy

    Absolutely. It's about time everyone took some responsibility for his/her health. Hospitals are required to care for uninsured motorists for example in the emergency room so why shouldn't the currently uninsured abe required to pay for their protection. Would you rather have a system where you left people lying in the street?

    St. Helena Island, SC

    March 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  59. Robin from Winter Park Colorado

    Jack, Let's let the likely next GOP presidential nominee Romney explain it for us: "Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate," Romney wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2006. "But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian."
    Romney was referring to the federal law that requires everyone to be treated in emergency rooms, regardless of their ability to pay.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  60. phyllis

    You have people who are working and may not be making a comfortable salary. So, they may opt to not get insurance for themselves or their children. However, when they or their children get sick and go to the "ER", then do not pay their bills. The cost of this gets past on to others. I live in GA. and the local hospital was in trouble because the ER had to run as a free clinic. In the end home owners had an extra tax dump on them to pay for the people who were uninsured. Me and my husband is working past retirement because we know we need money to pay for insurance in the future.
    I feel the so call poor who are on welfare and medicaid need a real close look. There is waste there. And either give illegials legal status or stop paying for their children who are born. This is not fair.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  61. Sheldon G. Bardach

    Dear Jack:
    Of course the government has the authority to require all Americans to purchase insurance. Doesn't government have the authority to require people to carry auto insurance. Sure, it's the states that require that, but auto policy is a state issue. Health care is a national issue and jurisdiction is in the federal government. There is substantial Consitutional authority for such action.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  62. Clarence

    Why not? The uninsured doesn't have a problem with forcing others to pay for their emergency room visits.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  63. tony

    We already are forced to buy insurance , car insurance and if you don't you get fined . So what's all the crying about, all the democrats are trying to do is straighten out the mess of the last 8 years where business called all the shots and we had to take it. If some of you people had to deal with insurance companies for doctors and prescriptions you would know why the system is broken.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  64. Tammy

    Yes, I would rather have insurance on myself than my car. No one asked me if I wanted insurance on my car it was just mandated. Driving in this country is a priviledge not a right, so is linving in this country. Those that don't like it can leave. Tax payers are paying for the uninsured anyway, this is a better way of doing it.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  65. A Canada

    I just wanted to let all of you know that health care in Canada is not even close to what you think it is. First of all, we are all covered- doesn't matter whether rich or poor, young or old, or black or white. We are all forced to pay taxes (over the age of 18) to fund the health care system. In theory, we are all forced to have insurance. Its working good for us.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  66. Darreyl

    In some states we required to have auto insurance.

    If someone is injured , in an auto accident for instance, they will go to the local hospital.

    If someone gets sick while they are in public someone will call 911 to take care of them.

    No one asks can you pay for this before they call emergency services.

    Everyone needs to have coverage and I feel it will reduce total healthcare costs.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  67. Mary

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do you thing so many hospitals have been closed, do to so many people not having any insurance. Ask anyone in California.
    Everyone should want insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  68. Gate

    Jack –
    Yes, and they already do and have been doing it for over 60 years.
    It's called SOCIAL SECURITY! Plz....

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  69. Medifico

    Yes, ... because the mandatory requirement will keep the premiums down and create more competition. Why, because healthier people will contribute to the insurance pool, as well protect themselves against any major catastrophe. Their requirement can be a minimal basic coverage, just as automobile insurance is a requirement, that keeps premiums as competitive as possible. Is mandatory car insurance unconstitutional ? If not, then why should mandatory health insurance be ?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  70. Susan K

    NO, Why should goverment get in our lives and tell us what we have to do? This is an outrage and I am sick about it. Thoses arrogant Democrats think they can run my life? No way it's my money I earned it and they are not taking it to make a welfare country!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  71. Kevin Morley

    Yes! Given the status of health care in America today, the way I see it those who are paying their taxes and have health insurance are paying for those who don't have health insurance yet still receive medical services. Everyone should pay their fair share.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  72. Joanne

    yes, people should be made to carry insurance or pay a fine. Folks without insurance go emergeny rooms for treatmets all the time. They know if they go they will not be turned away. BUT, those of us who carry insurance end up paying for their visits to the emergency room by our insurances fees. This has been going on too long.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  73. eddy

    sure, we are all in this together and the explotion of employment that comes with it is wellcome; too bad its going to take years for it to happen otherwise even the most ignorant would understand that its a no brainer

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  74. Jennie

    Absolutely, we are required to have car insurance in Nys. An uninsured vehicle can create monetary, as well as other penalties.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  75. Bill from Green Bay, WI

    The government should not be able to FORCE you to pay for health insurance...if you choose not buy health insurance, then you should get a tattoo on your forehead that says, "Do not resuscitate" or "Pay before service".

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  76. Adele Christensen

    Dear Jack–Our state (and many others) mandate insurance coverage already–auto insurance. Most people don't bat an eye at this "forced government control." We're doing just fine with it.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  77. Melissa Arnett

    I don't believe the government should be able to force us to buy auto insurance, but it does. If we are forced to buy auto insurance, then I suppose the government can force us to buy health insurance. However, if we are forced to buy it, a public option should be available.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  78. John

    The government makes you pay for a car seat to transport your children, a license to work in many professions, a lawnmower to keep your lawn mowed, a license to drive, and so on. What is different about having to pay to have medical insurance? It's not like you are going to opt out of medical care when you really need it any more than you will opt out of driving your children places, working, etc.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  79. Henry Howard

    I have to buy auto insurance. I have to pay school taxes althought I have no children in the schools. I have not seen in my lifetime so much hatred from the right wing, especially from the bible belt. What does that say for Christanity.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  80. Fay Johnson

    I am a Registered Nurse and I see people with no insurance showing up at the ER. They expect treatment for free. Why should my taxes pay for them. That is the question

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  81. Abhi

    I believe eveyone should have health insurance, either from ones own well being or being forced by the governement. We have seen over the years how the cost of health care has accelerated uncontrolably like a Toyota ultimately crashing people into thousands of debt or bankrupcy. In such a situation, if a government shows direction or paves a path in a way such that people are encouraged or mandated to take insurance, it for their own good. Why dont people looks at the positive side of this bill. As the Prez said.. its not the best path but tis a step in the right direction.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  82. Ted Vaill

    Guess what? Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon says that his amendment in the enacted healthcare bill allows states to opt out of the individual mandate provision in the legislation if they set up their own plan which meets the coverage requirements of the bill. So the lawsuit by the attorneys general of 14 states is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. The courts will throw out the lawsuits as moot.

    Ted Vaill
    Malibu, CA

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  83. Allen - Illinois

    I'm a 55 yearold white guy on permanent disability. I 've got full Medicare coverage and I don't have a dog in this fight, except for the fact that I spent six years fighting for my disability, during which time I received absolutely no medical care or treatment. It is for that reason that I have for the past several months 'tweeting' hundreds of pro health care reform messages to both sides of the aisle. I dearly love the President and have voted for him for every elected office he's held, but I am wholey opposed to a public mandate... it's just wrong. I fear it is the foothold in the door that the GOP needs to defeat the entire process we've fought so hard to achieve.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  84. Dan in Green Bay


    While there is some rationale for this requirement so that insurance companies can avoid insuring only those who need health care, it presents an awfully "slippery slope" towards totalitarianism. If this requirement is okay, should the federal government be able to require us all to buy exercise equipment? Should we sacrifice this fundamental freedom for the sake of expediency in solving the health insurance dilemma? I think not. There are other ways.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  85. Melinda, MD

    We are forced to pay Social sec. , Med care, and even car insurance. so obviousley it is constitutional. Although my famly income dropped more than 100K last year, and I am unemployed right now, I will support that bill, becase it will help me in the long run. Think about it .... we pay highter auto insurance for people that don't have it, the same is true for health insurance. How many people do you think go to Er's every day just casue they cant afford to pay for doctores? who do you think pays for that? I think Insurance companies makes the insured pay for that. same as auto insurance.These MEGA companines will get thier money one way or the other. Imagine if everyone had auto insurance, would we the insured pay less?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  86. Michele Dolphin

    Health Care Reform is a safety issue. Just as I want the person driving in the lane next to me to have auto insurance, I want the person sitting next to me on the airplane or standing next to me in the check out line or the wait person handling my food to have health insurance and practice preventive and good health care. Thank you.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  87. Andrew S

    Yes, the same way that we are required to buy car insurance. It comes down to public safety and personal health. Plus, if you have any fears of Healthcare Reform, look at MA, or ask R. Gov. Mitt Romney. You know, that guy who SIGNED the MA Health Care Legislation!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  88. Anthony - Apex, NC

    What some people fail to understand is that those who refuse to buy insurance when they can afford it will cost all of us when they show up at the emergency room. With the addition if the pre-existing condition provision, those people will wait until they're ill before getting insurance, skewing the numbers, gaming the system, and defeating the purpose of covering everyone.
    People should be allowed to not be covered only when they sigh a waiver saying they won't purchase insurance when they get sick and that, when one of them shows up at the ER with a ruptured apendix, they can be left to die on the sidewalk. Oh, and their family should have to pay to remove the corpse.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  89. Stephanie, NJ

    Absolutely, Mr. Cafferty, because taxpayers wind up paying for healthcare for the uninsured via charity care, and because charity care also drives up the cost of healthcare for those of us who are insured.

    As to the question of constitutionality, shouldn't the Republicans also file suit in those 14 states and allege that we shouldn't be required to educate every child?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  90. Annie, Atlanta

    In theory it could work by reducing risk, including healthy with the not so healthy. But insurance companies aren’t in it for us, which makes me leery of being forced. A public option enabling competition would have made the mandate more palatable, and make more sense. But I’m not in charge.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  91. Katheryn

    Absolutely not. I do NOT support the reform legislation nor do I accept the underhanded way in which it was passed. The idea that all citizens must have insurance "...in order for insurers to provide coverage..." is proof that the current approach is flawed. I think this statement indicates where the true reform needs to begin: with the insurance companies. Requiring all Americans to purchase insurance is not reforming anything. Fix the existing problems BEFORE involving every American in the issue.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  92. Jon Bauman

    Absolutely. We are forced to have car insurance, and those without health insurance are an enormous drain on the system and all of our finances when they get sick and end up in the emergency room. The only way the reforms will work is if everyone is in the system, and this is for the common good, that is "to promote the general welfare." Besides, if you don't think you need health insurance, you're frankly just crazy or an idiot.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  93. paul

    Your question makes the gov't use of power look pretty bad. Perhaps you should add that those of us with insurance already pay for those who don't, every time they go to the emergency room. This is because we live in a society where we don't let people die when they can't pay for emergency service. So, maybe you should ask the question this way:"Should gov't be able to force you to have insurance, so long as you agree to die if you need medical help you can't pay for?" Oh, and we'll need a family clause there too.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  94. Nahom Tewolde

    I don't like it myself but the economics of it makes sense. Since there are mandates on car insurance, I don't mind a mandate on preventive care or healthcare as a whole.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  95. Kenny from Arizona

    Yes, we need to be mandated in order for us to pay for the people going to the Emergency Room or Emergency care. If the government is giving subsides, allowing a health exchange, and making it available then there is no excuse. The health care comes down to this analogy " 6 in one hand 1/2 a dozen in the other hand". Basically we are already paying , I ok with the fact it is all organized and more people can pay for themselves. Also, we in Arizona are required to have car insurance and if you don't your license is suspended or your lender will automatically cover you either way you have to pay. It is Mandated!!!!! this is nothing new. Since everyone goes to the hospital at one time or another I want them to pay for it!!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  96. Harokl

    YES! Unless they agree never accept care from the system the rest of us are paying for. The deadbeats want us to pay until THEY need care and then welcome them into thje system with open arms. Sorry, but it don't work that way. Like automobile and homeowner insurance, you pay it and hope you never need it.

    agree not to accept care from the system the rest of us are paying for,

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  97. Paul Montreal Quebec

    I am a very blessed healthy person living in the free health Canadian system.It's not free I am forced to pay taxes and I am glad to do so. If I need a heart transplant it will be free of charge.Everybody must pay with no exeption and everybody will gain at the end of the line.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  98. James from Florida

    When the government forces you to purchase insurance to simply live, that is called socialized medicine. It's really as simple as that.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  99. Robert Murch

    I have the privilege of driving a vehicle, my state requires insurance for that privilege. I have a mortgage for the privilege of owning a home. I am required to have home owners insurance. I have the privilege of paying my taxes that pays for many things that I do not agree with. If people don't want health insurance, they can have a card that says, I refused insurance. Then when they go to the hospital, emergency room, clinic, etc. they can show their card and be denied care. I pay, my company pays, if you want it, you can pay too. The model works for Walmart. Get lots of people that want cheap stuff and stuff becomes cheap. I want AFFORDABLE health care. The more people that "demand" affordable health care the more affordable it will become.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  100. Daniel Ward

    Well, let's see

    Last time I checked its manditory that I have insurance to drive a car

    Maybe the government shouldn't require me to by law-

    Oh, but if you get into an accident, it will cost everybody.....

    Oh ...yeah that's what happens when people get sick.....

    give me a break- I lived in Europe and watched as civilized laws keep poeple healthy and happy-

    It will work wonders when everyone gets used to being insured

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  101. Kea from Honolulu

    Jack, my dear friend. As a former Republican turned Democrat, I can actually see both sides of the argurment. They don't want to be "forced" to get something, even if it's something they need or have already. They want a choice – aka freedom. Ok, understandable. But I wonder why aren't they just as upset that Car Insurance is required by law?

    If you start saying the Goverment can't mandate requirements upon its citizens, you open Pandora's Box.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  102. John

    Good then i would not buy car insurance anymore..is that your logic Mr JACK.?.Insurance o no insurance we pay for them in the emergency room.. John, Palm Beach, Fl.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  103. d

    No and please quit using the example of people who drive must have auto insurance, you have a choice to drive. Will we now have to choose wether or not to be U.S. citizens? or pay insurance fines

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  104. CK Honolulu

    "Freedom" only goes so far as one's individual pursuit of happiness–not when it infringes on others. By not having health insurance, an individual burdens others with his/her health care expenses for those costs are ultimately passed on to those with healthcare insurance. The "freedom" of not having health insurance is selfish and irresponsible for we are all pay for that individual's poor decisions. This mandate protects the majority from the poor decisions of a minority.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  105. Robert Moore

    The government has no right to force me to have health insurance. I lost my health insurance when I lost my good paying job. Now my part-time low paying job doesn't pay enough for me to afford health insurance. So, great news, now the federal government is forcing me to buy insurance instead of food. Don't those idiots realize they solved the wrong problem with a wrong solution? - True healthcare reform would ring the fat out of the insurance companies and healthcare organizations... and drive down the cost of healthcare. And jobs would allow people to buy affordable, low-fat, insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  106. Don Torgersen - Island Lake, Il

    Hey Jack,
    Considering how younger people think they are immortal and impervious to harm who has to pay when the uninsured suffer horrific injuries in a traffic accident – come on Jack – guess! Take a good look in the mirror. Yes, Jack, we little folk who pay our taxes! Simple either they buy insurance or no pain medicine when we patch them up! We end up paying higher rates or hospital charges as a result. Time we get a break!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  107. john, saskatchewan

    Jack, this is the most stupid thing about this debate. What the hell is in the best interests of the people of the United States that you are "forced" to buy medical insurance and if you don't, you're going to be fined. Only in America do you get fed to the health insurance companies who suck the life out of you, or the government fines you.

    This idea is completely Bide–d.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  108. Phyllis Rhodes

    No. The government should never be able to tell the people how to spend the money the make or the money they have. Where's the freedom in that? This should all be put to a vote of the people.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  109. J.Adams

    Who turned off the lights? What's the reluctance to accept mandatory
    health insurance? If I'm not mistaken we have mandatory automobile insurance in every state in the union. People who don't
    currently have health insurance receive medical care in our county
    hospitals at the expense of others, so why not make them pay for their

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  110. Megan, AZ

    Jack, I think that EVERYONE should be required to have health insurance. Just because someone doesn't currently have any health problems and doesn't use the healthcare system, doesn't make them immune to any sudden tragic traffic accident or house fire. If people don't have insurance and this happens to them, they could be put on life support and have lengthy medical bills, which they will be unlikely to pay; putting the burden on people who have insurance by raising our premiums!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  111. Barbara Fahrenkrug

    Yes, people should be obligated to buy their own Health insurance.

    If they are offered an Insurance Plan that fits their budget, they should be obligated to buy it.

    The majority who do go to the Emergency Room, due to no insurance, are much sicker due to lack of routine health care and consequently everybody pays for their care.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  112. Betty

    Yes every one should buy health insurance, just like every one has to buy car insurance, howwould you like it when some one backed into your car, and you have to pay for it. No differnce we pay for it.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  113. Conrad Delury

    Yes! Just like government requires us to pay into Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment Insurance. If you believe in these programs but not the new requirement to purchase health insurance, then you are a hypocrite... unless you support Medicare For All instead.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  114. Al Snowball

    I think that we already have a precedent for this. You are required to purchase auto insurance. I think that as long as there are reasonable costs associated based on ones income and ability to pay, health insurance should be mandatory. I'm tired of paying more for my insurance because others don't have it but use the medical facilities anyway. Today we all pay more to cover those who don't have it. Maybe my cost can finally come down.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  115. Dale Walker, Fontana CA

    Well, Jack-

    That's really the question this all comes down to...isn't it?

    I've heard the argument that, if you drive a car, you must buy auto insurance. But, unlike health insurance, not everyone must purchase auto insurance...I'd guess that few people who don't drive or own a car have purchased auto insurance.

    The state of Virginia passed a law prior to the passage of health care reform prohibiting the so-called "individual mandate" to purchase health insurance, and Virginia's Attorney General is suing the federal government in an effort to uphold Virginia's rights.

    Ultimately, I suspect that only the U.S. Supreme Court will be able to decide this issue. The rest of us merely have our opinions...and you know what they say about opinions.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  116. Suzanne Fisher

    No, the government should NOT be allowed to pass legislation requiring the American public to purchase health insurance. As a voter, I am very angry that not only is Congress trying to foist this on the American public, the legislators have exempted themselves from the law they just passed. They are not listening to their constituents – if they were the law would not have been passed.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  117. james boykin

    i belive that everyone should have insurance, just as though we are forced to have car insurance if we want to drive a car, as long as the people who can not afford it have an option, i live in chicago and the people who do not have insurance can go to the county hospital and guess who pays for it ? ME for those people who do not want to be forced to have insurance, that is fine, just when you or your family gets sick do not take them to the hospital and think that we(taxpayers) are going to pay for it p.s. i cant wait until the day we have a public option

    March 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  118. Jerry W. in Encino, Ca

    The government now requires all hospitals to treat those who appear for help whether or not they can pay or have insurance. This is an open invitation to pass on having insurance. Lets either recind this law or require people to have insurance. I don't think we can find healthcare solutions by sending conflicting signals.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  119. Marcia

    Americans are already required to have auto insurance, although one uninsured driver usually injures only the person and property of one other person. On the other hand, a person who has no medical insurance who visits an emergency room, and must by law be attended to by the hospital, is a burden on all taxpayers. Perhaps we ought to allow people who don't want to buy insurance to opt out by signing away all rights to medical attention at the taxpayers' expense.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  120. Ron M.

    Government already mandates that drivers carry car insurance.

    I choose to carry insurance to cover those that (illegally) do not carry car insurance.

    If everyone is required to have health insurance AND the health care we receive is above average as a result of it, then I am all for it!

    I think being deemed uninsurable by an insurance company is unacceptable!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  121. Kristen DiMambro

    The government requires families to educate their children. Educating our populace is a public good. Families pay taxes to provide this public good. Keeping our citizens healthy is also a public good. Health is more basic than education. People need to pay taxes to contribute to this public good as well. Health security for our citizens is important but it is not free. And when people get their primary care in emergency rooms, we taxpayers pay millions of dollars for this every year. The plan is a step in the right direction.


    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  122. kent,NJ

    no they should not be able to force us to buy health insurance but they can so they do it. The problem is our founders did not give the voters the right of referendum. We are stuck with bad politicians and bad policies. We can either accept it or vote them all out and put people in who will give us referendum power. If you don't want health insurance you can get a religious exemption by simply stating that your religion prevents you from getting health insurance. Sounds stupid but it is a fact.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  123. Y-

    Jack ~

    Americans are forced to pay for the uninsured today. Requiring everyone to have insurance will hopefully raise the heath awareness in the country and reduce the cost of a hospital stay. At some point, we all are going to need some type of medical care when it is our time to say good bye to this world. Why not pay it forward now?

    Oh... and have we forgotten that we are still paying for an 8 year war in Iraq that we all did not sign up for? Dollars that could have easily paid for this bill.


    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  124. Carola Dryden

    Absolutely not. Government should not be able to tell us what we can or cannot or have to buy in most instances. If a person chooses not to carry health insurance and they can afford it, then it is their choice to not receive medical care unless they pay cash. We all need more affordable medical insurance obviously, and as for low income people, we do have to have medical insurance that they can afford, how best to do that or if it is even possible without government intervention I don't know. I believe that the government needs to have limited access to our lives.

    Thank you,
    Cartersville, GA

    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  125. adrienne

    YES people should pay for their own Health Care Insurance, like in France, Health Insurance is deducted from people pay check, thus everybody is insured.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  126. Clarence in GA.

    Let's have the Republicans make an admendment like this – "You can choose to sign a letter permitting medical facilities to deny you health care if you don't have health insurance." this will relieve our emergency rooms of having to see the uninsured with the cough, headaches, a fever or broken limb.

    After all, I'm only required to buy auto insurance if I want to drive a car, so it's fair that you shouldn't have to pay for health insurance if you don't want to be well or you don't want to live.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  127. Denise

    After the Republicans finish suing about health Insurance, Maybe they will sue GA, on there auto insurance, they are forcing us to keep insurance, that we cannot afford, and charges us 85.00 A month if we are not insurer ed, so if they can change the health bill they should be able to change the auto insurance law.

    Or is our automobile more important than our health?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  128. A. Spencer

    Absolutely! The real issue is not about being "forced" to purchase insurance, the broad and sensible view is about extending healthcare to millions more Americans. We are the richest nation on earth, which spends twice what other developed nations spend on healthcare (which their citizens happily contribute to), yet our health statistics don't even measure up. Clearly, we need change and this is a change in the right direction. The day we are born into this world is the day we all begin requiring healthcare!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  129. BJS

    We already have it with car insurance and people are alright with it... especially when somebody crashes into their car.

    People will be thankful when their big mac gives them a heart attack, or if you get into a legitimately accidental car accident. Then the rest of us dont have to pay for you. We live in a society. These are some of the benefits to living in a society. We help each other out. We all have a responsibility to contribute to this.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  130. John from Tillamook, OR

    The government "should" offer health coverage without relying on the insurance industry, but having said that... The government already requires us to pay for things, so why do people make this out to be so unique? We have to pay for auto insurance; passes to visit our own parks and park lands; a huge variety of taxes, fees, and tolls; and we even have to pay for using TV signals that are beamed directly at our houses without our approval, etc., etc., etc.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  131. jameela abdul-malik

    The real question Jack is whether people with no health insurance

    continue to use the public hospital ER's for primary care and expect

    the rest of us to pay for it?


    Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  132. Renee S.

    Should banks be able to force you to have a bank account to get paid by a job? I personally don't want to support the banking establishments, but if I want a paycheck I have to pay these loan sharks their cut, and if I keep more than $0.01 in the account at any time they get to use it at their discretion for whatever political purposes they choose, regardless of my approval or disapproval of their political opinions. So, in order to even things out, laws have to be passed to regulate the banking establishments. No one is complaining about being required to support the banking establishments if they want to work, why?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  133. Eric

    No.... Not without a not-for-profit option. All we have done is created an inflated demand for a product that all of us at sometime in our lives will need to consume. The health insurance companies are currently making billions of dollars charging people premiums for a product that a portion of the people of the United States cannot afford. Now through rule of law these profit driven companies have an entirely new market to expoit for profit and our tax subsidies are going to pay for it.

    Owning a car is a choice but going to the doctor because you are sick is not. Making health insurance a requirement without providing a public or not-for-profit option is simply unethical.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  134. Tony

    This is not like car Insurance! If someone doesn't have a car there is no reason for them to buy car insurance. If someone has the cash or is healthy why would they buy health insurance. Health insurance and health care are two different things. The government can regulate commerce, they can't force commerce. All of you need to read the constitution, please!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  135. Cathron

    People that don't have car insurance are deadbeats, and the worst thing that can happen to you is to be hit by someone without car insurance. If my state can force us all to carry car insurance, and thank heavens it does, then I don't see why everyone shouldn't be forced to carry health insurance. People have a similar responsibility to carry their own health insurance, so that costs are spread around fairly and the uninsured and underinsured can fairly contribute in some way other than showing up at the ER for a free ride. Who on earth would complain about the idea that people will be responsible in the free market and pay for their own healthcare for the first time ever? This gives an opportunity to the uninsured to be able for the first time to pay their own way. Some may have been prevented by preexisting conditions, some by finances, some by job loss, but this bill helps them all make the right decision to get covered.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  136. Jose From Norfolk, VA


    Some states require you to have auto insurance and if you don't you will be fined and have your license suspended. So what's the difference between a state and our government mandating we have auto or health insurance. Are the states that mandate auto insurance considered to be unconstitutional?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  137. Natalie, New Jersey

    Why not? We are "force" to get auto insurance. We are "forced" to have permits to do work on our own property that we own. What is wrong with providiing the MILLIONS of people who DO NOT HAVE. You can't scream "CHANGE" and then be upset when change comes. It's a very difficult time right now in our nation on many levels but for goodness sake, when was being healty a bad idea? I wish we went all the way with universal health care. We are the leaders of the "FREE" world and we don't take care of our people. The public should be angry with that!

    Thanks Jack, love watching you!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  138. Ken Currier

    I have no problem with the government requiring health insurance. The insured and working have been paying for the uninsured for decades in the form of higher premiums, higher hospital costs, and the poor or unattending health needs of the uninsured. It is about time the government did something about this! Here is a novel idea: Maybe now actual emergencies will be arriving in our hospital emergency rooms!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  139. Travis

    I don't think I am a bad driver, so why should I have auto insurance? People do not want to be forced to have things but are thankful when they do and and and accident happens – what if you get cancer and do not have health care? You will go to the government for support!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  140. Luis Bartolomei

    Why not? We are forced to have car insurance, is not your health a little more important?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  141. Ellen D. Myrtle Beach

    No. The Democrats like to argue that you are now required to buy car insurance but they don't recognize the fact that only if you own a car that this applies. I can chose to own a car or not. I can't chose to live or die. Suicide is against the law. Also the majority who have insurance do not pay the the premiums out of their pocket. Their employer pays them. If you're going to make it mandatory then make it fair and require all individuals to buy their own insurance. Otherwise it represents an unfair tax on those who must buy their own insurance.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  142. Phyllis - Snow Hill, Md.

    NO, What happened to our freedom to choose for ourselves. If we are required to have insurance or be fined for not having insurance what happens to the people who have lost their jobs? How can they afford to pay for insurance when they have a tough time putting a roof over their heads and trying to feed their families.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  143. Mathias A.

    We are not being force, We have being giving a chance to be secure for life. People die because of no health insurance, look at it this way car insurance, if you can pay to protect your car why not your life. its just like car sit belt is your choice but you get fine if you don't were it. is to protect us. If a Government is for the people why not protect those people. and that's what Obama did. protecting the America people. I'm Proud Mr. President

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  144. James BLOCKER

    Yes! People should be required to have health insurance just like they are required to have car insurance!! Time is now for everyone to take responsibility. The low income folks are exempted. What's the problem? People sit back in their recliners and root on our troops in our wars, but few really do anything about it. Where do they think the government gets the money to fight these wars. Hooray that McDonald's, et al, have to show how they have been adding to the extreme obesity in our country! This is the 21st Century. Let's start tackling this health problem rather than political posturing!

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  145. AspenFreePress

    Government already taps our phones and internet use; spies on what books we check out at the library; and tells us what we can or can't put into our own bodies in the privacy of our homes. What's the big deal about government now telling us we have to buy insurance? Sterling Greenwood/Aspen

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  146. Mike T - New Jersey

    The question I have is that while we can be forced to have health insurance, will the insurance companies be forced to cover all medical services. Under my HMO, many services need to have a pre-certification or authorization from my insurance carrier. I may develop a condition that could require a newer or experimental treatment and my insurance carrier does not have to approve it currently. This scenario would be in conflict with the statements that I have heard that as a result of the health care legislation, I'm supposedly protected from financial ruin because of medical costs? The devil's in the details and we don't know those yet.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  147. Michael, Springfield VA

    Absolutely not. The government should be prosecuting the hospitals that charge $100 per pill for ibuprophen (per a CNN story last week). Instead they are persecuting private ciotizens because they do not want or can not afford health insurance. The health care bill was originally about giving Americans a choice. A mandate to purchase insurance or be treated as a criminal is just the opposite. Congress has fed us to the lions for whatever the insurance lobby promised them (no limits on corporate campaign donations). Here's my health plan, common sense and healthy living. I rarely see a medical professional for anything and I am perfectly happy and healthy. I will not comply, I will not pay fines and I will defend my legal rights with the Constitution.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  148. Joe from Missouri

    That is the only objection I have to the new bill. But the government says we all have to have liability insurance to drive our cars so what's the difference? If having insurance (whether we want it or not) would make things easier financially for hospitals, doctors, and all health care providers to keep doing what they're doing then why not? To be able to drop the federal subsidies that keep a lot of providers above water would only serve to pay down the deficit and help pay for the bill. Maybe we could ask Wall Street to something humane and pick up the tab. Just sayin'.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  149. scott m from Maine

    The revolution has just begun,watchout dumbocrats,the tea party are on the warpath.November 2010 the repubs will rise again.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  150. CASSIE

    yes,the government is the highest office in this country,the previous administration have always left the people out,.thank god for answering our prayers,just remember we do not own anything on this earth,we are just utilizing the things that belong to god.i"m a nurse and provide care to the sick,shall i deny care to those who are ill,just because they do not have health insurance? no,any time you wish sickness on a person just because they voted for health insurance for everyone, has a evil spirit,remember when you speak evil on someone, evil will return to you.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  151. Don in Florida

    Jack, this is not an affront to our "rights". Our democracy works on the premise not only of individual rights, but also on the rights of all. I work in a hospital in a lower income community. Nearly one half of all the patients we see, especially in the ER, do not have insurance. They still receive treatment, and most do not pay their bills. Guess who pays? Would people rather "have their rights" or have a healthcare system to use when they do get sick. We at that point. Our system cannot continue to function the way it is. Look past the sound bites and scare tactics. Health should be a basic human right for all. Where was all the outrage when the patriot act was shoved down our throats.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  152. toni

    Employers are also required to offer health insurance to their employees in this legislation, which will benefit every worker out there. If an employer can't afford to cover their employees then they shouldn't be in business, it's the same as Social Security and Medicare – to be an employer, you must comply.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  153. Jim MT

    There needs to be an incentive to get people who know they can get away without insurance knowing they can go to the emergency room and let someone else pay for it. There shouldn't be a need for more agents to track them down if they don't get insurance. Sooner or later they will end up in an emergency room and that's when they can get reported. The GOPpers need to get on with their life and see what else they can keep from happening that could help the middle class

    March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  154. Kathy - Indiana

    The government needs to back off. No, Obama should not be able to make a law that puts a leash on every American, with the benefits the Democrats keep referring to that only help a small amount of people under a very limited set of circumstances. It's all a bunch of bull and it never should have continued through to completion. Obama knew that but couldn't stop the snowball once it started rolling. Now, after watching the anger that people are expressing, the Democrats are acting like it’s the first they’ve heard of their constituents’ anger with them. Exactly what news reports and Internet blogs are available to Congress anyway?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  155. Jefferson

    To answer some of the above comments: force is force. Taking your money is in essence taking your labor...and not a very big difference. Also, requirements for automobile insurance, etc., are individual state requirements, not federal. And they are to protect the other driver, not your own uninsured self.

    We must all, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, American Workers, Taxpayers, et. al., force our government to govern within the limits that we have set for it in the Constitution. Otherwise, we will lose more than our money...

    March 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  156. thomas schlanch

    I don't like it, but hey, if that's what it takes, it's better than the Rebublicans plan...do nothing. Anyway ,Wasn't this originally a Republican idea? The said to keep people from "Freeloading"?

    March 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  157. duane stevens

    dear jack, when americans revolted in town meeting last august the white house called them "domestic terrorists"-bad start! now we are to be taxed(or fined)because basically we're not buying what they're selling.if i watch fox news i'm an "idiot", if i don't like their health plan i'm a "terrorist," and if i don't buy an approved insurance i'll be a "tax evader". i have not had that many labels put on me since 5th grade. duane allen park, mich.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  158. steve- virginia beach

    No and even President Obama knows it. Obama habitually lied to us during his campign telling us that if we elect him, healthcare coverage would be made available to everyone but would be strictly voluntary. People lie for only one reason- they know that what they have done or will do is wrong.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  159. Kelley-Texas

    Absolutely NOT! This is the land of the free and the home of the brave! It's another bend toward socialism.; to make us THINK we need the government in our everyday lives! From healthcare to the auto industry, the banks and NOW whether or not there's too much salt in our food! Oh, and I forgot: whether "happy meals" should include toys or not. WHAT????????? Next thing they'll want to do is control our personal habits! Oh, they're already tracking that too! Lord have mercy on us! He's the only One who can! P.S. There will be alot of Americans that will become religious if that's an exemption! Kelley-Texas

    March 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  160. austin nurse

    The missing part of this discussion is that without insurance, we the tax payers will be paying for the uninsured's health care anyhow. If everyone has to have it, then the burden if lifted from the tax payer. And who wouldn't want to be covered? It's an awkward deal right now. I hope it it improves in time. But imperfect as it is, this first step toward reform is the right one.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  161. Carla Brauer-Lalezari

    The reason people will be forced to buy health insurance is because the Republicans were against the public option.
    Public option is the reasonable alternative to forcing people to buy health insurance.
    By the way, as a Canadian citizen who lives in the United States, I have to say that even though the Canadian health system is not perfect, it is far superior to the U.S. health care system.

    March 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm |