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. RN for Heathcare reform

    Everyone who does not have insurance and has an accident or gets sick raises the rated and prices for EVERYONE! Mr. Joe Blow decides he is a healthy young guy with no health problems, why bother paying for health insurance, right? Well, he starts having head aches and is found to have brain cancer. Now, he has the RIGHT to health care even though he doesn't have the millions of dollars for the surgery and chemo. Now WE pay for his health care because he has that right. He should also have the responsibilty to have himself covered by an insurance plan.

    Why is it the the right wants to preach about personal responsibilty but when legilation comes around requiring personal responsibilty they want to moan and groan?

    September 20, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. JAY

    Obama is doing a good job of tearing this country apart , and his
    advisory board will pull the plug on grandma ,if they take the money
    away from MEDICARE.

    September 20, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. DEM in HI

    He is really from HI. Only here is a tax increase really not a tax increase. It is call an increase in fees. Thus politicians can say they never raised taxes, but the fee increases are out of this world. He must be related to Honolulu Mayor Mufi.

    September 20, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. mark in Atlanta

    fair enough to point out that some people would pay more under this proposal than they do now. Also fair for Obama to point out, correctly, that an insurance payment is not a tax. So long as we get a robust public option to force real competition, mandidates are fair. We will all benefit from having a system that is more even handed, more effective, and more affordable than what we have now.

    September 20, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Steve (the real one)

    Actually I agree. No one considers MANDATORY auto insurance a tax increase! No I am NOT a lefty nor a far righty simply just a free thinking conseravtive being REAL! hate me on the far left or far right if you will. I am however comfortable in my own skin AND opinion!

    September 20, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Jon

    I am really tired of seeing this guy everywhere I look.

    September 20, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. New Independent

    I watched him on TV. It was interesting indeed. He has a way about him that reminds me of the used car salesman of years ago. He avoids answering direct questions by changing the subject quite well. I'm glad that I passed on the kool-aid when it passed around. Whenever anyone disagrees with the great one they are either called liars or rasists. When will people wake up.

    September 20, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. g_fall

    Of course, requiring anything that costs money is effectively at tax. If he says anything different, Rep Wilson will rightly call him a liar again. lol.

    But here is the thing, I only see 3 fair options for everyone:

    Option 1 – everyone must have insurance

    Option 2 – you don't have to have insurance but then you cannot expect free care (even emergency care), so you may die...

    Option 3 – you don't have to have insurance but then if you get ill we will provide urgent care but that care is billed to you and you cannot avoid paying it back over your lifetime (even with bankruptcy! like we do with taxes).

    September 20, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. unshrub

    Just because FOX NEWS doesn't print the health care bill doesn't mean it's not available. The problems for many of you who have all of these misconceptions about what the bill says would be solved by reading the bill instead of listening to others who also haven't a clue about what it says. The problem is the bill doesn't have pictures, so many of those who oppose the bill won't read it. Why must those who oppose the bill have to lie to convince others to oppose the bill? It the bill was so bad, they should not have to lie about it.

    September 20, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Connie, Indiana

    Some of these comments show that ignorance is bliss.. Matthew in Detroit is prime example of this. Watching TOO much FAUX news..??

    September 20, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    I am ready for the public option! I am not one to cry people don't deserve health care! He should just stomp it through! Forget Bipartisanship did Bush show some? What about any Republican for that matter! It is sad most people that are mad about it like my mother in laws new "boyfriend" he doesn't have any teeth, shower or have steady employment and all he wants to tell me is about how Obama is a commie and how is is going to put a meter in our cars and make us pay by the mile instead of gallon for our driving! Most that are mad don't make enough to be affected in the first place, don't listen to Rush he has money, he is the one that will get it so of course they believe every paranoid rant he has! Think for yourself!

    September 20, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Reggie

    Come on Obama, we are smarter than that. Of course it's ANOTHER tax INCREASE!!!!

    September 20, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Roger

    Go ahead raise my tax. I'm not making any money to tax anyway. Get it all and they might have enough to treat a common cold much less fight swine flu or have triple bypass but tax some of the fat cats who had been given a free pass by the Bush administration, now we are talking some good health care for all!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Karl in Charleston,SC

    "...you have to take responsibility to get health insurance..."

    In the debates with Sen. McCain, Obama said that Health Care was a Right.

    Which is it. Mr. President?

    September 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. JD

    Sure is looking like the whole "hope and change" was just 0bamaspeak for "lie and tax."

    A tax is nothing but a government-mandated fee. What 0bama proposes is nothing but a government-mandated fee. Therefore it is indeed another tax with which 0bama now lies about, just like everything else.

    What's next for 0bama? The "crisis of confidence" speech, part 2??

    2012 can't get here soon enough.

    September 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Hugo

    What about giving citizens a tax credit on their premium expenses? I am not surprised TAXama would not see this as a tax increase as he distinctly defines in lawyer language that an increase in taxes is defined within the Federal Income Tax Code, so if he taxes Corporations and they charge you more, it really isn't a tax by the definition of IS....

    It still takes money out of responsible working class families pocket!

    September 20, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    It is not a tax on the middle class. They still need to pay for some part of the Health Care Plan. Republicans are just looking for anything to keep this bill from passing. It he didn't charge them, the Repubicans will be saying Obama is giving away free heath care. Repubicans have no attention in Health Care Reform. President Obama needs to move forward with out them and not include their amentments becasue they are just going to water down the bill and laugh in President Obama face.

    September 20, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Margaret

    This bill is dead. Believe it. I don't care if Obama is on primte time tv all week. It is dead. It is too costly and political suicide for Congress.

    How about cutting government instead of allowing it to balloon up? We're all cutting back, why shouldn't government? How about lawsuit reform? How about enforcing immigration laws? That's what's helping to drive up the cost of medicine for us all. How about allowing us to buy insurance across state lines? Government has caused our current situation. Putting government in charge of this isn't going to fix it and everybody knows that. Name one successful government program that hasn't run out of money.

    Amnesty is next on Obama's agenda and that's not going to pass either.

    Enough is enough.

    September 20, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Andrew

    It isn't a tax increase – it's a forced personal expense.

    He's still sugar coating it. Government is telling you what you must do with your money.

    September 20, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Margaret

    How is making it mandatory that you buy something or pay a fine up to $3,800?

    Anybody here read the Constitution? "Stop the Socialism talk?" You must be kidding.

    And yes, the President is lying.

    September 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Navy Jack

    Requiring citizens to purchase health coverage IMPOSES an EXPENDITURE on Americans, like it or not.
    Because it is a federal mandate, the effect on private citizen's INCOME would be the SAME as increased taxes.

    The federal government FORCING people to purchase anything ,including insurance, is an intervention on personal freedom. The Gov't already confiscates OUR personal income to finance their reckless, irresponsible legislation and spending; greedy earmarks; 72% of their healthcare premiums, their guaranteed pensions; their unrestricted global travel itinerary; and their own salaries they consistently vote to increase. You want to extend more control of your life to the federal gov't?

    September 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. freaked out future voter

    So many people are getting breast implants and doin drugs and they cant get a job because they are addicted to drugs. well, our taxes are paying for their health care so they can live and just take in more. I had a scalp infection and had to get medicine for it. The pharmisist told us that the medicine would take only $3 to make, but i lickiley have halth insurance, but my company was changed with $106 to make the whole thing. Its rediculious how something so simple to make could cost so much. It might just take us as a whole country to say NO, were not paying that much. go fly a kite. please.
    there are some selfish people in the world, no the US, who are using our dimes to get botox and breast implants. just deal with te way you look. would you rather look decent or become a hobo or something??

    September 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Jenny

    Obama is 100% right. People need to take responsibility for their own well being.

    September 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. SW Okie

    When is this administration, congress, and US citizens will wake up and see the big picture? This Health Plan is forcing people to buy health insurance by implementing a fine. If this passes it will take away people's choice of whether to buy insurance. This means that people will no longer have the choice of free will and instead will be dictated by the government. This country was founded on the ideas of freedom of choice. This bill if passed will take that away. Also, what other part of our lives will be dictated by the government after this.

    Mr. Obama the controversy over this health care bill is not just how will this be payed for but you are TAKING AWAY PEOPLE'S FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!!!

    September 20, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Judi Baller

    I have car insurance. I see nobody ranting and raving because they have to have car insurance. I am also sick of covering people that do not have health insurance and use emergency rooms or spread flue and heavens only knows what because they don't want to pay for a clinic visit. It costs ALL OF US one way or another. Hey, remember when we were getting 12% raises every year? Well that was before the cost of health care ate up everyone's raises, before companies are closing their US sites and moving everyones jobs offshore so they don't have to pay the cost of health insurance.

    September 20, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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