September 20th, 2009
01:09 PM ET
9 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. Kate

    This is why so many Americans do not believe President Obama. Do the math!

    September 20, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Jonfrom Mass. whos already "required" to have health insurance

    Well, if mandatory health insurance is considered a "tax increase" then Mitt Romney of the "No-To-Higher-Taxes" Republican party has some explaining to do to the residents of Massachusetts.

    September 20, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Ed

    So it's time to take responsibility and pay for health insurance, whether you want it or not.

    But if you don't take responsibility and you stop paying your Mortgage, uncle sam will help. If you don't take responsibility and you run your bank or auto maker into the ground, Uncle Sam will help.

    But if you don't take responsibility and get health insurance, we'll fine you $3,800 per year.

    Idiots, all of 'em.

    September 20, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. dave

    Wake up everyone, there is no health care bill yet. No one knows what the final one will be. Hold your anger for something that is real if you don't like it.

    September 20, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Illinois 2

    We all need to let our representative know that they work for us and anything that is good for us is also good for them as well, no questions and no special insurance programs for them...............

    September 20, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Uncle Tim

    You people have some serious issues. There is so much hate on both sides, mainly the democratic side, but still. You all are some foolish people.

    You too moderators. You are foolish. Why can't you see your own folly? Weeping will befall you one day.

    September 20, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. David In West Virginia

    If Americans wish to take advantage of our Health System, they must be required to participate. I know of people that are against the President's Health Care, yet they have expensive surgeries and guess who pays the bill? The taxpayer, that's who. Someone has to pay, and it might as well be the person who is getting the care. We never know the day or hour we may have a catastropic illness that requires hospitalization. We need THE PUBLIC OPTION WITH EVERYONE PARTICIPATING WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD!!!!!!

    September 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. NClaw441

    If we are going to end pre-existing condition insurance provisions (this is about as fair as requiring life insurance companies to write million dollar policies for people on their death beds), then I reluctantly agree that health insurance coverage must be mandated. This country does not have the stomach to deny medical care to persons (able to pay) who refuse to buy health insurance so that they can get a nicer car or house.

    I wonder if one day we will mandate responsibility? I doubt it.

    September 20, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Obama never said that he would never support a penalty for those who don't have health insurance.

    Obama never said that the current plan doesn't provide funding for elective abortions.

    Obama never said the the stimulus package would create jobs immediately.

    Obama never said that he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class.

    Obama never said that he would not increase the deficit over twice as much as Bush did.

    In fact, if you listen to Obama, he never said anything.

    This is a tax increase. A "formal" tax increase on the middle class is coming next year.

    Economic recover will begin when Obama is tossed out of office, i.e. 2012.

    September 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. award crime

    illegal got 100% free healtcare from liberal because will be new democraps and kill senior citizens whos already earn

    September 20, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. cl

    I hear you Mr. President. It's the right wing fringe that needs the hearing check. Health Insurance Reform Now!!!!!

    September 20, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    I love it Bararck...
    Your boy Stephanopoulus called you out cold.
    You are a liar.
    He had to pull the dictionary out to explain to you what a tax is.
    Lie Lie Lie Lie...
    You just figure if you say it enough times that you can get everyone to believe all of your bull......
    It does not work that way.

    September 20, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. MatthewDetroit

    When you call someones benefits income....
    Force employers to list it on your check....
    Make them show it as income...
    And then take a percentage of the value...


    September 20, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Moe, NY

    I guess I will have to try to pay the fine because I certainly can't afford health insurance now, or looks like in the future. Hope there is no jail time required. I am disappointed, was hoping for health care like Canada, France, and other medically progressive countries offer their citizens.

    September 20, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Kirkland WA

    Obviously the message is not getting heard over the clutter of Republican opposition. He needs to keep repeating it.

    But I have to ask, what is the republican plan?????

    Buy across state lines – that's in the bill. Tort reform – That's already accepted and kicked into effect. The questions is,
    HOW DO WE STOP INSURANCE COMPANIES FROM RIPPING US OFF? People are dying because of this!

    What is their plan? All we know is what they are against, but what are they for? How do they plan to solve these problems. For 8years they had the power to do something, and they did NOTHING. Look at where we are today!!!

    Stop shouting and screaming, help us rebuild this country! Give up real plans and real options, not just oppositions! It is simply getting old and boring!

    September 20, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. unshrub

    republicans complain all of the time that people don't pay for they own way. Now here is Obama, who wants to get people to pay as much as they can towards their own medical insurance and not let them freeload off of society if they can afford to pay, and guess what: the republicans are complaining again. They don't know what they want, all they know is they want to disagree with Obama.

    September 20, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Ruth

    Just talked to a self-employed friend who dropped her insurance 7 years ago when the premiums went to $14,000 a year. This year she'll be eligible for Medicare, and she can't wait to have the government meddle in her health care.

    September 20, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Burns NH

    Currently health premiums and out of pocket expenses are ductable
    when you file your taxes. From his statement sunday I assume that
    will not change with his program. Don't hold your breath. If they are
    not duductable,that is the same thing as a tax increase.

    September 20, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    No, the hidden tax is the one where we pay for all those emergency room visits used by the uninsured.

    If we don't reform our health insurance practices like every other advanced country, pretty soon we'll be paying 30% of our income just for runaway health costs – now THAT'S a tax!

    September 20, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. Nea

    Taxed on the middle class or not as long as the system gets better, People should know by now that nothing from nothing means nothing. Some you are complaing about taxes when you probably dont pay anyway.

    September 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Get a Life !!

    We already pay medical bills for the un-insured. The money comes from the state budget. So everytime you buy an item and pay sales tax, you are helping to pay a medical bill for an un-insured person (even illegals). Everyone can contribute a few $ for health insurance, of course, they might have to give up a 6 pack of beer or soda and a bag of chips or maybe their big screen tv with all the extra movie channels and they might even have to cut back on some of those extra cell phone programs, but hey! no one wants to give up anything. They just want to complain because they will be expected to pay at least part of their own medical expenses.

    September 20, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Buddy Gilmour

    We are a rich nation. Surely some means can be found to provide healthcare for those who are not able to pay? And healthcare for children, including annual check-ups and all immunizations, should be mandatory and paid for by the government.

    September 20, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. Trang

    President Obama,

    Here, I have another confusion. You go on TV promoting your ideas, but you don't write the laws. Congress does. And yes, I did put my name down as one of your supporter, pushing Congress to adopt your ideas. However, your ideas are not new to them. You talked about it during your campaign, and yet, they end up writing a bill that is 180 degrees different ... you said, no mandate, they said, there's a mandate; you said, there should be a public option, they said, no public option. So we supported you and we end up w/ a bill that is 180 degrees different because you let it go through Congress. We voited for your ideas not Congress ideas. This is frustrating.

    And of course, I don't like any mandate. If I think the cost is reasonable, then okay. If not, is Congress going to put me in jail if I don't pay for health care, I just wonder. Heck, free room and board, free food, don't have to work ... not bad. I think you should hold off on the mandate, just focus on bringing the cost down.

    September 20, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Kat

    I consider it a tax increase. I must be a nobody!!!

    September 20, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  25. Kat

    Take a look at the big picture people. We are being turned into a welfarse state. You get stuff if you don't earn it. Subsidies, bailouts, blah, blah, blah!!!! Who is gonna earn the money to pay for all the "stuff" we are gonna get. Not me!!! I'm gonna have my hand out.

    September 20, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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