Poll: Quarter of uninsured say they'll pay Obamacare fine
December 4th, 2013
11:41 AM ET
4 months ago

Poll: Quarter of uninsured say they'll pay Obamacare fine

(CNN) - More than one in four Americans who lack health insurance say they're more likely to pay a government fine for not having coverage rather than sign up for insurance, according to a new national poll.

A Gallup survey indicates that 63% of Americans who currently don't have coverage say they'll sign up, as required by the Affordable Care Act. But 28% say they're more likely to pay the fine mandated by Obamacare. That 28% figure is little changed over the last month, as the clock ticks towards the March 31, 2014, deadline for having health insurance.

The results of the survey are based on Gallup Daily tracking the past couple of weeks of uninsured Americans' understanding of the federal health care law's requirements, and whether they plan to get coverage.

CNN Money: No thanks, Obamacare. I'll pay the penalty

Approximately 48 million Americans currently don't have health insurance. Under the federal law, which was passed in 2010, people without coverage will start facing fines in 2014. The amount of the fee will increase over the new few years.

According to Gallup numbers dating back to September, there's little generational divide among uninsured Americans over whether they plan to sign up for coverage, but there is a partisan gap.

"The biggest differences appear by party identification - 45% of uninsured Republicans plan to pay the fine, compared with 31% of independents and 15% of Democrats," says a release by Gallup.

The Gallup poll was conducted Nov. 20-Dec. 2 of 655 adults nationwide who say they currently don't have health insurance. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare • Polls
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Brian from CO

    People who refuse to sign up are bums. They are the people who will end up in the ER and passing on the costs the rest of us.

    December 4, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    Anyone "choosing" to pay the fine and remain uninsured should be required to pay CASH IN FULL upon showing up at the ER for the treatment of ANYTHING! If they can't pay, they turned away and not allowed to stick the rest of us with their tab.

    December 4, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. yolanda

    @Mallory, what do you think happens now? "We" have had it stuck to "us" all along by those who do not have insurance. Perhaps someone in Washington will someday address the ridiculous incremental costs that big pharma companies and trial lawyers add to the cost of health care. Unfortunately, they have bought off both sides of the aisle, so the responsible consumers will continue to suffer.

    December 4, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Hatsin

    HA, people are realizing its better for them to pay the little fine and cover themselves for minor things, and then if something really bad/expensive happens they just sign up for insurance on the spot because you cannot be turned away for preexisting conditions. Brilliant.

    "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It"
    -Nancy Pelosi

    December 4, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Get covered people or get ready for bankruptcy. I ended up in emergency surgery as a young uninsured adult and it cost me $45,000. Are you ready for that?

    December 4, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    The purpose of "The Fine" is to encourage folks to do, in the short term, what benefits them & ALL of US in the long run. That is the PURPOSE of Govt. to TRY, not force, almost every member of Society to ALL sacrifice some so that we are ALL better off & not stuck w/the $Bill$ of those who don't. This is the same CONCEPT of that radical Idea of PUBLIC EDUCATION. Make everybody as literate as possible so that the Whole of Society doesn't have to pick up all the slack created by an illiterate Society.

    December 4, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "A Gallup survey indicates that 63% of Americans who currently don't have coverage say they'll sign up, as required by the Affordable Care Act. But 28% say they're more likely to pay the fine mandated by Obamacare."

    Yeah. People are turning away in record numbers.

    December 4, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. ST

    My intention is not to offend anyone, BUT always anyone who opts to pay fines, falls in a group of Lawbreakers.

    December 4, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Ol' Yeller

    "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It"
    -Nancy Pelosi

    Somebody drank the koolaid....

    December 4, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Vince

    The 28% who decide not get insurance should every right not to get it. But, if during the year they get sick and show up at a hospital, they should either be thrown out on their ear and denied service or forced to pay 100% of the bill due, regardless of if they have to sell their house or take away their kids college money, or go hungry. Choices have consequences and you should be 100% willing to accept whatever those consequences are when you make a decision.

    December 4, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. just saying

    gee, who would have imagined that people would resist this massive intrusion into their personal financial/medical decision? just more clueless liberal logic that thinks you can bludgeon people into doing what the liberals think is best for them. what next? force feed them tofu instead of beef because you know it is better for them in the long run and will lower medical costs?

    December 4, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Hatsin

    HA, people are realizing its better for them to pay the little fine and cover themselves for minor things, and then if something really bad/expensive happens they just sign up for insurance on the spot because you cannot be turned away for preexisting conditions. Brilliant.
    ---------------–
    If I'm not mistaken, you're mistaken. While the insurers cannot turn you away, then can deny coverage for your pre-existing condition for 30 days or something like that. So, if something "really bad/expensive" happens to you, then you're still going to be liable for the costs for an initial period of time.

    December 4, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Flagship, NC

    The 28% who decide not get insurance should every right not to get it. But, if during the year they get sick and show up at a hospital, the hospital should be allowed to collect from them even if it is taken from their social security benifits.

    December 4, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    The republicants cheering on those who refuse to take responsibilty and 'pull themselves up by their own bootstraps'... another cherished value of the gop down the tubes as they follow their masters the koch brothers....

    December 4, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Peace

    Those who are eager to pay the fine, remind me of one of my always happy uncle. He refused to insure his house claiming he can extinguish the fire in case it happens. We keep asking him, what about if the fire is huge and you can't manage, of which we know, god forbid, it can happen so.

    December 4, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Logictox

    I like the photo for the column. Two of the three in the photo are grossly overweight. Until America actually addresses the issue of why our cost are so great we don't stand a chance of solving the issue.

    December 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Peg

    Why would they do that? There is a false belief that they can just sign up if they land in the hospital. Sure they could sign up, but if they are in the ER are admitted before they do, those tens, or sometimes hundreds of thousands in costs, from before they enroll will come to them in the mail.

    In addition, since a majority of the uninsured are low income families and the young, many of these people will get a huge subsidy and nearly free insurance plus free well checks and preventative tests each year. Why would they prefer to pay 95 dollars OR a % of their income (which ever is greater) instead?

    December 4, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    Damn, some of these comments coming from normally Lib bloggers sound harsh ! That's why I was a little shocked when Repubs. said they hated Obamacare. They're usually for anything that keeps anybody fro getting a FREE RIDE at their expense. Maybe we could renam the Law,"The Bob Dole Personal Medical Responsibility Act" & start fine tuning it; it is the Holiday(I'm sorry, the Christmas) Season.

    December 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Wes

    Do you get one of those cool t-shirts when you sign up?

    December 4, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. shorething

    Nice job running the same story yesterday and just changing the date. Way to go CNN you rock!

    December 4, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Daytonaken

    Only a 1/4 will pay the fine? Well who ever doesn't pay the fine when they are supposed to, it's the IRS going into their bank accounts to take it. YOU HAVE NO CHIOICE! Get insurance with a $6,000+ deductible at $800 a month, or get fined, period. That is the only truth in period. You can't keep your doctor, you can't keep your plan, period. You are going to get a fine from the IRS, PERIOD.

    December 4, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. bill

    i thought it was free,

    December 4, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Daytonaken

    @ NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again.. You are clueless. People you are talking about are bankrupt already. They don't give a crap! Moron's I tell you, they are everywhere!

    December 4, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Vic of New York

    Let's hope is a BIG fine. And BTW, if they show up in an emergency room, let's hope hospitals aren't going to care for them before they show their wallets (or sign over their houses). The rest of us are tired of paying the bills for their ideological stupidity through higher healthcare costs!

    December 4, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Here's how this works:

    Naysayer: I'm just going to pay the fine!!! Soshulizms, communizms and Kenyans, Oh my!!!!

    New Enrollee: Really? How much are you paying for your insurance and what is it covering?

    Naysayer: About $X per month and it covers A, B and C.

    New Enrollee: Wow, man, I went on the exchange and my premium is $Y per month, I'm getting a subsidy that brings it down to a lot less than your $X per month and I'm getting coverage for A through P.

    Naysayer quietly enrolls via the exchange and hides it from all his fellow conservative friends and family and continues to scream and shout about the ACA anyway.

    December 4, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
1 2