WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that all Americans would be required by law to have health insurance under legislation he is proposing for congressional approval.
Speaking to a joint session of Congress, Obama said the requirement would be similar to mandatory auto insurance in most states and also would require businesses to either offer health-care coverage to workers or contribute to covering their costs of obtaining coverage.
"There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95 percent of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements," Obama said. "But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees.
"Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part."