September 20th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama insists requiring health insurance is not a tax increase

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama insists that requiring Americans to get health insurance does not amount to a tax increase.

In a testy exchange on the ABC's "This Week" broadcast Sunday, Obama rejected the assertion that forcing people to obtain coverage would violate his campaign pledge against raising taxes on middle-class Americans.

"For us to say you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase," Obama said in response to persistent questioning, later adding: "Nobody considers that a tax increase."

A proposal going before the Senate Finance Committee this week includes the mandate for health coverage. Obama has praised the plan in general, and indicated in the interview conducted Friday that he could back the coverage mandate.

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Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Joe Fattal

    I see a little contradiction in Obama's statement. First he say that requiring Americans to have health insurance doesn't amount to a tax increase. Then he say, that we have to take reponsibilites on having health insurance. One sounds like its mandatory to have health insurance, and the other its up to each one of us to have it or not. I already know the man is a double face anyhow, but now I tend to believe that Obama doesn't know anything about health care, it is what the other democrats, and some of the dozens of Czars that he hire, and probably know more than he does tell him what to do, and maybe what to say.

    September 20, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Belle1

    Hmmm...$1,761.00 increase in energy due to Cap and Trade...+$3,800.00 fine if you cannot afford health insurance. That is an additional $464.42 per month in taxes, not counting the VAT tax they are talking about in Congress, or the cigarette, soda, and other taxes.

    Gee...I certainly am happy Obama promised not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250K...or we'd all be broke...oh...I'm already broke, so I guess it doesn't matter.

    Who else lost everything they saved when the housing burst? I did...$160K to date and still home values are lowering in NV.

    September 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. mark

    You Lie obama! another broken campaign promise...

    September 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. stevegee

    Requiring me to have insurance of any kind violates my constitutional rights as a citizen of the United States. I know best how to take care of myself, not Big Brother.

    Obama is wasting his breath - we're not buying government healthcare!

    September 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    When you raise taxes or surcharges on an industry like insurance (surcharges) or energy (cap and trade), these companies will always pass on the cost to the consumers who will pay for that tax or surcharge, so President Obama just admit the truth, you are raising taxes on the middle class. Do not use your "Lawyer Truth" to lie to the American People.

    September 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Jasmine in Germany

    I'm so sorry that a large number of people have been fooled and brainwashed by Obama's opposition. The GOP are putting "winning" and "politics" and "greed" above the health and hard work of the citizens of our country. Obama's health care reform (which is very long overdue) will SAVE the people money in the long run and establish a healthier society.

    The "government" mandates that children have got to go to school, is there a good reason for this? Duh. Health insurance should be mandatory for each and every US citizen. If it's not, you can count on the US being a Third World country soon enough. And you can thank the opposition for that. Wake up and see the forest through the trees!

    September 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Steve

    Requiring people to buy health insurance is no more a "tax" than requiring people to buy auto insurance. Or to pay for their own transportation to work. In fact, what Obama is proposing here is EXACTLY what REAL conservatives would advocate - you pay for the services you get. The current situation is not like that. If I don't have heath insurance, and I go to the emergency room and get care, that's coming out of YOUR pocket, in the form of higher insurance premiums. And if your company is paying your premium, then ultimately, it's coming out of your paycheck. Would you anti-tax folks prefer that? I am a fiscal conservative. I can't believe how illogical others who claim to be the same can be when it comes to the right words coming out of the "wrong" person's mouth.

    September 20, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. catmom

    Wait a minute, some of you people have been whining about people wanting something for nothing. The President tells you how people will be paying for health care and now you all start screaming that it is a tax hike. So, is it that you people actually want health care but don't want to pay for it or is it that since you have yours, you could care less about anyone else? Your life is so perfect that even if the insurance companies continue to raise rates and reduce coverage it won't ever impact you or your family?

    September 20, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Lisa

    Mr. President I don't make a lot of money but I will be willing to except a tax increase if I know that i'm helping other people in need. I am not a selfish person, i'm willing to help others. Republicans on the other hand or the most selfish, ungrateful, greedy, not willingly to help others, wanting to kill people for money (WAR), irrogent, liars, that I have ever met.

    September 20, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Charlie New Mexico

    We DO need affordable health insurance for Americans. The crux is how do we do that ???? The facts are that insurance companies are "For Profit" ( I know because I've worked for them.) If everyone is required to have insurance, what will ensure that the companies will not increase the charges (and profits to themselves) for the insurance coverage ???? As for the question of it being considered a "Tax", the state "requires" that I have insurance on my car, should I, or anyone else, consider that a "tax" ???? If so I would think that my accountant whould have listed it as a deduction on my federal income tax forms for the last 50+ years...

    September 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. catmom

    Isn't it interesting that Republicans in Congress are all about supporting sending more troops to Afghanistan and keeping that conflict going. No mention of funds and how it will be paid for. BUT when it comes to something that will benefit ALL American people like health care reform all they do is talk about money. I for one have a problem with that. The only thing Republicans can agree on with the President is continuing a war. How sad.

    September 20, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Let's see. The federal government is requiring the American people to send them money that they were not required to do so before. How is this NOT a tax increase? (You can put lipstick on a pig, but..........)

    September 20, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Sam I Am

    I have had it with Congress and this whole situation. What started out to be a good idea has turned into yet another way to pick the taxpayer's pockets in ways that only benefit insurance companies and their Congressional lap dogs. I am a well-educated liberal, but even I have had enough. If this bill goes through as it stands, I will move out of this country to a country that has some semblance of ethics and humanity in its government. I am proud to be an American, but I couldn't be more angry at the obvious money-grubbing, greedy, self-centered politicians on both sides of the aisle, who seem to have no problem taking the American people to the financial cleaners, over and over and over.

    I would suggest that Congress be put on the same health plan as the rest of us. No special plan. Let's see how these fools like it. In the mean time, I'll take my education and my experience and my ability to do good things for a company and a country that cares about its people elsewhere. See ya!

    September 20, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Dean

    My son recently had to go to the ER for an abdominal problem. It could have been life threatening (such as a burst appendix or some other major issue). It wasn't, but there was no way to know without an examination. The bill was $9400. Without insurance, getting that money would be very difficult so it would be big payments to the hospital – taking food, clothing, etc. out of my children's mouths. With insurance it was $850 – still a fair amount, but not devastating. All those who claim that requiring poor people to have insurance is 'a tax increase' and 'a burden' have absolutely NO CLUE. No parent should have to choose between the life of their child and a home or food for them. And the conservatives have the gall to talk about 'death panels', while shrugging their shoulders about poor people dying because they can't afford medical care. Shame on you.

    September 20, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Sian

    Mr. President,
    You need to treat the healthcare debate as you woudl an election camapign. You will expend a lot less energy selling the plan to Congress if you place more emphasis on informing the American people. A few town hall meeting will not suffice. Use supportive elected officials in local communities to distribute literature and host public information sessions. Otherwise, it will take much longer to get this plan passed all the while health costs will sink this country further into debt.

    September 20, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. turned off by them

    Well-i just can't help it. I have to join in here–Matthew Detroit you really do need to study your history books. What you wrote could not be more untrue.

    September 20, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. valwayne

    Now you know why Obama didn't go on FOX News. He can't even handle a medium difficult question from a fellow democrat.

    September 20, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. smiff

    Familiar kinda response to reality as percieved by these people. Reminds me like......."WHAT DOES IS MEAN?"

    September 20, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Mike

    During the election people where on President Obama's case about not mandating that people carry health insurance, now people are on his case when he decides that they need to mandate health insurance in order to decrease the hidden taxes on us all when the government incurred the cost of ER visits for the uninsured. What is next? The Republican leadership, and teabaggers blaming Mr. Obama for letting his dog crap on government property? The Republican Senate leadership is a joke. They strip the public option out of the finance bill and replace it with cooperatives and there still is no Republican support for the bill. They won't be satisfied until they can kill Health Care Reform, and then they will blame the President for not getter an reform package done. Their sole intent is tot try and break the President politically. They don't want to work with him, they want to destroy him.

    September 20, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. smiff

    Not gonna cover illegals? However if they magically become legal thats another story. See how swoof these people are at dodging and weaving!

    September 20, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. henry

    So winding up with single payer insurance, run by the gov't, and fining you if you don't get it.

    There will still be people out there who will not be able to afford the insurance, no matter who runs it.

    There are going to be people who will see the fine as a cheaper way out, and still not have health insurance. That is, unless the gov't can guarantee that the yearly insurance premiums will be less than the proposed fines.

    Fat chance.

    September 20, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. nurse

    obama has done nothing to increase the privite sector , You remember ,,,the ones who hire people. If you have jobs you can get your own insurance , obama is forcing us to unemplyment to create the need for gov take over . Look at who he is , who he was raised with , who he worked for as a lawyer (ACORN) who he sides with who he snubs ( PREZ of Hondurace ) Who he embraces ( Iran , russia , Chavez, Castro, What more do you need ?

    September 20, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Call it what you want......

    it's still money out of your pocket if you choose not to take insurance. He's going to make YOU pay for someone else's insurance.....

    September 20, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Dyan

    I am furious about the fact that I'm going to be forced to give my money to a for-profit corporation.

    This is not the same as car insurance, and I wish everyone would stop making that comparision. I have a choice whether I drive and own a car or not. That's not the same as being alive, which is something none of us can choose not to do. And if I drive, it's my choice in how safe of a driver I am. On the other hand, I have very little control over whether I get sick.

    September 20, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. JD

    Now let me get this straight. You must buy health insurance or be fined. What if you are unemployed and do not have money for health insurance? Do you go to jail? Take one of the 80% of recent college grads who is unemployed and up to his/her ears in student loan debt. Do they go to prison since they don't qualify for Medicaid, can't pay a fine or premium? The devil is in the details which are non-existent.

    September 20, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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