CNN Poll: Majority oppose individual mandate
June 9th, 2011
12:17 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority oppose individual mandate

Washington (CNN) - As a federal appeals court hears a lawsuit against the new health care law, a new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the provision in the measure that mandates heath insurance coverage.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday, by a 54 to 44 percent margin, the public opposes the individual mandate in the law, which is scheduled to take effect in the next few years.

Read the full results (pdf).

"Most Americans continue to dislike the idea of the federal government requiring all Americans to have health insurance," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opposition to the idea comes mostly from older Americans and men; not surprisingly, eight in ten Republicans also oppose it."

President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law last spring, after a year and a half of fierce debate in Congress and in town halls across the country. The measure passed both the House and Senate mostly along party lines.

The controversy is also sensitive for Republican White House candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is on top in most of the latest polls in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.

A law that Romney signed as governor five years ago that included a mandate for Massachusetts residents, which is seen by many as the inspiration for the new national law, could be a political liability for Romney, who is making his second bid for the Republican nomination.

The poll indicates that 56 percent oppose the new health care law, with 39 percent in support of the measure. But about one in four opponents of the bill dislike it because it did not go far enough. Fewer than four in ten Americans oppose the new law because it is too liberal.

"While the new health care law passed by the Democrats last year remains unpopular, a significant chunk of that opposition comes from liberals who think the bill did not go far enough," adds Holland.

The release of the poll comes one day after a federal appeals court in Atlanta began hearing arguments on a massive lawsuit brought against the law by Florida and 25 other states.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was the latest of three similar federal panels across the country to hear challenges by states and private groups to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Separate rulings from those courts in coming months will form the basis of a certain appeal to the Supreme Court, which could offer the final word on the landmark legislation, perhaps in time for the 2012 election year.

The main issue was the law's so-called individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance by 2014 or face severe financial penalties.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3 through June 7, with 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN poll • Healthcare • Polls
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Henry F

    Currently many people have taken advantage of the taxpayer for free healthcare, people of all race, nationality and location. They go to Emergency Rooms, which are required to treat them. We eventually pay for their care. The current system does not work and is heading to disaster. Health care is the only place they can use the system and not pay. If you don't like being required to buy health insurance, like you are required to buy auto insurance, then offer an alternative. I pay for health care, if you find a better system tell us what it is.

    June 9, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. jk from MN

    If American's really do not want to have health insurnace coverage (which I highly doubt – my guess is they want insurnace they can afford), then we must allow our health care providers to refuse treatment (as harsh as that sounds) to those who come in without insurance and can't afford to pay, or let's face it – the rest of us with insurance are going to continue to foot their bills. It really time to have a single payor system and not the for profit at the expense of the insured system we currently have.

    June 9, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Chas in Iowa

    Folks need to realise that the requirement to purchase insurance is not what the right is opposed to,'s just their best chance to overturn the "Healthcare Bill" for big insurance. The big insirance conglomorate sees 2014 getting closer and their stranglehold on the American Public slipping away. A lot of money will get poured into this fight to try and convince the American Public" that they don't like this law. The democrats need to do a better job of making the end run effort a public matter.

    June 9, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Scott

    Everyone is ALREADY paying... The "Individual Mandate" is what happens when you have to pay for all of the emergency room visits for those that don't have insurance... That's why you pay $45 dollars for an aspirin and $60 for a box of tissue during your hospital stay. We're all paying for it anyway. Why not mandate it? In Georgia, they're even adding fees to our cellphone bills to cover ER/Ambulance costs for the uninsured.

    June 9, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. w l jones

    When I were born, cash up front for the poor at a highrt rate and "IOU" for wealther at a mucher lower rate "that "say something about health care in our country. Bless.

    June 9, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. rosaadriana

    I am liberal and I am not a fan of the mandate either. I would prefer a universal single payer system similar to Canada or UK. Since universal coverage is not an option here, I can live with the mandate., I understand that if there is no mandate, there is no health care reform and we go back to the way things were which is the worst of all the options.
    Most of the GOP ideas like tort reform and sellling insurance across state lines are OK and can be included but are not nearly enough to solve the problem, sort of like trying to pee on a four alarm blaze.

    June 9, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. rosaadriana

    Fair is Fair?
    It is just as unconstitutional for my state to require me to carry auto insurance.

    No, it is not. No one is forcing you to drive. Get a horse.

    No one is forcing you to live either so if you get sick just please go die under a bridge. If you don't have insurance don't show up at an emergency room expecting treatment that I (with insurance or taxes) will have to pay for.

    June 9, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    I guess people would rather maintain the status quo.
    Compared to ObamaCare? Yes. Paying for it depends on drastic cuts to Medicare ( Yes, Obama decided to push granny's wheelchair off the cliff too ) and raising taxes. ObamaCare is a scam.

    But realistically, we can do much better and still get everyone coverage. But we can't afford to give the unions $60 billion like ObamaCare does. And we need to do it as a bipartisan deal, not one done in back rooms behind closed doors.

    June 9, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Fair is Fair: "No, it is not. No one is forcing you to drive. Get a horse."

    No, but I AM being forced to pay for those uninsured who use emergency rooms as their own private insurance by having MY insurance rates increased ... not to mention having to pay those pesky added hospital expenses and other related *fees* which medical facilities overcharge to compensate for those uninsured.

    @Dominican Mama:

    Thanks for the shout out. Having run his first campaign as a Moderate, I had the misfortune of voting for Pawlenty during his first campaign. It didn't take long to realise my error. Refusing to raise the Minimum Wage was the first indication he was anything BUT Moderate. It was downhill from there, and angers me to no end to see the waste he has left behind. Truth the tell, Pawlenty is absolutely EMBARRASSED of his years here in Minnesota. I challenge one Pawlenty supporter to site an example ... ANY example ... of Pawlenty actually endorsing or promoting Minnesota during his eight year tenure as Governor. Fact is, during his last 4 years, Pawlenty was so busy primping himself for his presidential run that he ignored Minnesotans, refused to see the damage his policies created, and ignored the effect the recession had on Minnesota - choosing to turn a blind eye from one empty business district after another - while he jet-setted for three years from New Hampshire to Iowa month after month in his effort to make himself *presidential*, all the while blaming city and local government officals for the higher property taxes (in some town a 60% increase) and added costs resulting from HIS revenue-failed and job ending policies. It is even more aggravating that the media is promoting this guy as *electable*.

    June 9, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    54 % believe in emergency room
    “It’s against the law to turn you away because you can't pay.”

    June 9, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Richard Zeni

    This is a silly poll since most people were opposed to requiring car insurance, wearing seat belts, paying taxes and wearing a life preserver in a rowboat. Sometimes it is necessary to make people do what is in their best interest even if they don’t like it. If everyone who could afford to buy health insurance went out and actually bought health insurance, we would not have the mess we have.

    June 9, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Chris - Denver

    I don't understand why anyone would want to be without health insurance. Why are we fighting for the right to go broke if we get sick or injured? It makes no sense to me.

    June 9, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Russ

    Dominican mama 4 Obama.....I love you baby!! So anyone that opposes the mandate part of this healthcare bill, which I agree sounds like it may be unconstitutional, needs to be able to either come up with their own insurance or be prepared to be denied health care entirely or pay cash for your treatment. No more free rides on the backs of us that pay dearly for our coverage. P.S. sweetie, the car insurance argument, although it sounds good, isn't really an issue because the government doesn't force you to buy a car. However, there are very few people that don't need healthcare at some point.

    June 9, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. keeth in cali

    Paragraph 7: "But about one in four opponents of the bill dislike it because it did not go far enough. Fewer than four in ten Americans oppose the new law because it is too liberal."

    June 9, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Oprah's Mooseknuckle

    Nice to see Barry's approval ratings circling the drain. This country elected a clown whose executive experience was limited to organizing bake sales for the Chicago Society of Unwed Mothers. Are we really that shocked by his pervasive failure?

    Jon Huntsman in 2012.

    June 9, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    I wish these republican idiots would drop this. The law is passed, it's better for everyone, and it is time to move on to the next issue. The repubs know deep down this is a big win for Obama and do not want him to have it. It's beyond rediculous now. Obama/Biden 2012

    June 9, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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