September 9th, 2009
08:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama calls for mandatory health insurance for all Americans

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."

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    I think this is a good idea. You MUST have car insurance, so why not health insurance.

    September 9, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. Danny J

    Goodbye Blue Dogs, Independents and Republicans: well over half our country.

    September 9, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. T'SAH from Virginia

    Now this i truly believe in and the President really put it into perspective when he said that it is the same principle used for car insurance. All Americans should contribute because you never know when a young person may get ill or have an accident.... GOOD IDEA!!

    Parent's insurance will cover kids to a certain age and then they should be responsible to purchase their own or acquire their own just like they would in order to drive a car... BUT, if they can't afford it or is not working – then other options are available!!

    September 9, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. Buck in NC

    Americans don't want universal health insurance, Mr. President, they want universal health care. What do the insurance companies have to do with it?

    September 9, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  5. Change in American

    President Obama get a A+ for health care reform

    September 9, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Michael

    I am very glad Obama talked about covering preconditions, I am a cancer survivor and I don’t want to be denied coverage. Also fully covering mammograms and colonoscopies is critical to early prevention. Please congress pass healthcare as Obama has stated.

    September 9, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. g

    its about time 276 yrs is long time to wait

    September 9, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. REA

    Finally a President that will get the job done. President Obama will get health reform for all Americans. Thank you President Obama.

    September 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. Gene

    This is the one that's going to upset most that are opposed to this. But, he's right.. for this to work, we all have to do our part.

    I don't know about the auto insurance comparison though. Driving is privilege, not a right. If you don't want to drive, you don't have to take on the costs. On the other hand, living is a right...

    But again.. I agree.. as long as we have people standing aside and taking advantage of the system.. it will never truly work.

    September 9, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. Margaret

    Mandatory? There he goes with the threats again. Many Americans DON'T WANT health insurance, but this nanny Congress of Socialists know better than the American people.

    They are going to cram this travesty down your throats whether you want it or not.


    September 9, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. m jeff

    It's time for everyone to take some responsibility, you are not kids anymore.

    September 9, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  12. Adam Henderson

    I voted for Obama solely because he said he wouldn't do this. Now he has. I can't tell you how much it pains me to know how much of a lair this president is and how he lied to the American public to get elected.

    I am a 27 year old without health insurance. I can not afford to buy health insurance, and I am healthy enough that I do not need health insurance. His claim that I am "irresponsible" because I do not want to buy health insurance and that I will "cost taxpayers" by "ending up in emergency rooms" is such nonsense. If I did end up in an emergency room, I would be footed with the bill for my care after I got out. There is no free care just because I go to the emergency room.

    September 9, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. New Yorker

    This is a direct violation of the Tenth Amendment to our Constitution.

    But then, I remember when he was campaigning he made it clear that he had a problem with our Constitution.

    And now he'll "call out" anyone who "misrepresents" the plan. Hmm, I wonder what that means? And he talks about "scare" tactics.

    September 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  14. JAY

    If the public option is so great why does he have to defend it?

    September 9, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  15. Mike B

    If passed, this law will take away each American's individual freedom of choice. Making health insurance mandatory opens the possibility for a number or other services to eventually become mandatory. What is next, mandatory life insurance? This is not the same as mandatory auto insurance; after all, each person does not have to own a car. If I do not want to pay auto insurance, I don't have to drive. Healthcare should be reformed, but giving me no choice as to whether or not I have health insurance is wrong. For this, I do not support this plan!

    September 9, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  16. New Age Democrat

    This is complete foolishness and will never have the backing of the people. I've lost what confidence I had in this administration.

    September 10, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  17. janelle

    Auto insurance doesn't cover oil changes, new brakes or other routine maintenece. Let's have real "health care" reform that brings down actual costs of health care to make it affordable for everyone, then we can all be mandated to have major medical insurance which would be a better comparison to auto insurance coverage.

    September 10, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. Nea

    I feel this is a good thing, Even though there will be things in the bill that people will like and dont like, the President cannot and willnot please everybody. Even after this speech people will still complain and criticize him but as for me im PRAYING FOR HIM AND HIS ADMINISTRATION IM ALSO PRAYING FOR CONGRESS TO PASS A GOOD PLAN!

    September 10, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  19. Donkey Party

    Before all you righties go bat-crap crazy over this "mandate", just try to accept the fact that as a taxpayer you already pay for the uninsured when they make a visit to the ER. A mandate will reduce the financial burden on taxpayers. This is a good thing, don't hate the plan just because President Obama mentions it.

    September 10, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. Preston kath

    Preston and kathy how can you make a small bussiness owner pay for health care when they can barley stay a float them selves

    September 10, 2009 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  21. jules sand-perkins

    Why doesn't Obama call for mandatory champagne and caviar for all Americans?
    Or, since he's really into options, mandatory fried chicken for Americans who find things like arugula elitist?

    September 10, 2009 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
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