CNN Poll: Majority oppose individual mandate
June 9th, 2011
12:17 PM ET
11 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. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    The current health care reform debate is a classic example of information and disinformation. The public has been taught what to think without their realizing what is occurring.
    Gimme a break.... This fiasco and debate went on for ONE YEAR. There is no way people could avoid it. Information is there for all to see and read. Democrats and liberals can't accpet the fact that the American people refuse to have something jammed down their throats and be forced to buy a private product they may not want or need. I'm sure their next step is to force us to buy crap GM electric cars for the same bogus reasoning. Tell me why they couldn't do that as well if the mandate is constitutional?

    June 9, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Gotta love contemporary journalism: Hmmmmm..let's see, what to report on, what to do.....hmmmmmmm....we could do a poll and yammer about it's somewhat vague results and get people arguing about it, or we could explain the RAich line of cases and Commerce Clause jurisprudence that actually indicates that the mandate should probably pass muster at the SCOTUS....what to do.....

    June 9, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Are people really that stupid?"

    Yes. Next question.

    June 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    I can see both sides of the argument. On the one hand, people should not be forced to buy it if they do not want it – especially if they cannot afford it. On the other hand, when they get sick, they go untreated until it becomes an emergency and then we all have to pay for their care.
    I see two solutions: require all employers to cover their employees or socialized (government) healthcare. But neither would be popular.

    June 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Democrat Swamp Inspector – Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities wrote;
    Come on, enough of this stupidity. If you drive a car on the roads, you need to buy auto insurance. The correct comparison is to force you to buy auto insurance whether you have a car or not, just because you might in the future, have an emergency that requires you to drive a car. Now that's sounds fair and Constitutional right?
    Let's use your logic. If you own a car, then it is okay to require auto insurance because you own a car. You can either own a car or not own a car. You can also be either dead or alive. If you own a life, then you need insurance. If you are dead, you don't need it and should not be required to buy it.

    June 9, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You only need it to operate a car. And also you are only required to carry liability.
    The key word John being REQUIRED. Liability is still a form of insurance.
    Unless of course you choose that horse option offered by Fair is Fair.
    I don't know of anyone that chooses to get sick.....but sooner or later you're bound to need some form of medical services.

    June 9, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Democrat Swamp Inspector - Help Wanted, Now Hiring, Overtime Possibilities

    We are long overdue for a serious national fight over single payer. It is the only sensible solution.
    What planet have you been on the last few years? Even the Democrats don't support this. The pool shows the American people reject Obamacare. They would reject this far more. If the Democrats are looking for extinction as a political party, supporting universal healthcare would be the way to do it.

    June 9, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Padraig

    When President Obama was running for the presedency he openly informed all listners that the American people and the various agencies that provide medical support would be included in the meetings. This never happened. Our congressman and women held town hall meetings before the vote on the Healthcare and Portabilty Act and said they would have a chance to read the bill and come back and tell us what it entailed. The first never happened and the second, well the congressmen and women were only given a few pages to read and report on it. That failed as well. Representative Pelosi stated you can read it and find out what it says after the vote. Very, very, arrogant and inane representative.

    Most people do not want it because even though our current healthcare costs are up, it will be cheaper than this form of helathcare. Getting the medical support you need is also better now than the future. In the end this plan will cost more and provide less. Just for your information, the insurance companies are still waiting for a lot of direction from the government on the new law.

    I have heard left, right, and moderate Americans state that they have rights under the constitution. Under this law you loose your partial right of choosing. Once you loose one piece or partially on right it will be easier later for the government to take more of your rights.

    June 9, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Len

    Dear gt,

    Guess what...every time a person who does not have healthcare coverage goes to the emergency room, guess who do. Your premiums go up, hospital cost goes up, doctor bills go up, etc. Please America educate yourself for a change!!!

    June 9, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. KC

    These are the same Americans that want the governments hands off their Medicare.

    June 9, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. bobden

    The main problem with the bill is that it does not eliminate the health insurance racket. Not a business, a racket.
    The insurance companies are the problem with our health care non-system.

    June 9, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Padraig

    To Gish, we have a horrible healthcare system is ridiculous. I have been around the world and even through our healthcare system is not perfect it is far better than any place I have been. I think it doesn't meet your expectations where what you want is a socialized system where the government pays. Unforturnately, you don't realize where the money truly comes from.

    June 9, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. DA

    People oppose it because they really don't understand it!!! I think American should be upset that they are paying for people who do not have health insurance and that is really why our healthcare system is so high. I mean people can talk about how they don't want to pay for something they don't use, however the moment something happen they run to a hospital and do you think they are going to turn them away...NOT!!! So, if you ask me it is better to get something from folks by force then not to have nothing at all!!

    June 9, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. concerned liberal

    All the talk about auto insurance is wrong. You are not required to buy auto insurance – you can choose to NOT have a car.
    This is different because you would not have a choice. I still endorse health care for all – I just don't abide stupid reasoning.

    June 9, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. coy4one

    If you have insurance, then you're more likely to be against the mandate, however there are millions of uninsured who would love to have affordable coverage. Most all the restaurant industry is uninsured. Maybe an alternative would be to require all employers to have coverage for their employees. However, I am sure that the lobbyists will have already pushed to keep this from happening since they would probably have to pay more for their lunches and dinners. We defend so many rights in this country, but why is it we don't defend the right to have healthcare. Being healthy should not be for only those who can afford, but every citizen of the U.S. Taxpayers are already paying much more through local, and State taxes to cover the uninsured. Plus, we have already seen where Doctors and hospitals gouge the governments for uninsured patients.

    June 9, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    I have two words for people who say the government can't mandate you buy something: CAR INSURANCE!!!!! is there any state that does't insist you have car insurance in order to register your car? and it's for the same reason. uninsured people create a burden for the rest of us. no responsible adult wants to be uninsured. and besides, the penalty for not buying the ins. in the health care reform bill is ZERO!! as Sniffit says, most of the opposition to this good start is that it isn't truly universal health care, which if someone is a true fiscal conservative, they would support.

    June 9, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. bobden

    Has it occurred to you "I've got mine, you get yours" creeps that it is VERY hazardous to have a lot of sick untreated people running around among us. Universal health care is the peak of SELF INTEREST.

    June 9, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    ""[T]his case comes down somewhat to whether or not the decision - because you are making a decision, and let me put aside activity and inactivity. Don't call my economic decisions I'm making inactivity. I consider it inactivity. The activity/inactivity [distinction] doesn't help me personally"

    Justice Hull, 11th Circuit...TODAY. In other words, they ain't buying the argument that it regulates "inactivity." Cry me a river, GOPers.

    June 9, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. jav

    The government currently requires us to have a retirement plan i.e. Social Security. How is the individual mandate any different?

    June 9, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. No individual responsibility for GOPs

    This is so typical of the GOP welfare mentality – screaming about infringements on their "freedom" to ride motorcycles without a helmet or go without heath insurance because that's oh-so-evil government regulation. But then when they crash or get sick, guess who has to pay? Us responsible Democrats who buy health insurance & wear helmets and pay for red states to get more taxpayer money than they put into the system. And then on top of that you are the ones that call us names. Well we Dems are sick of you irresponsible clowns! You should contribute your fair share.

    June 9, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. al in memphis

    People don't like to be told to do anything, even when it is in their own best interest. Sounds to me like freedom not to do is more important than the benefits of what your asked to do. True story about a rural family that elected not to pay into the local fire protection program. When their house caught on fire, the fire department showed up to protect any lose of life, but had to follow the protection program protocol to not fire the property damage. They watch the house burned down.
    BTW, the family offered to pay the protection fee only at the point in which they needed it - too late.
    Same can be said of the rising medical cost - we'll play political games until it too late. Insurers and health care profits will continue to soar and the less fortunately will continue to suffer.

    June 9, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    So many hospitals have been laying off if not outright closing because they have treated so many patients without being compensated. They are going broke while the insurance industry is fat and happy. Wouldn't it be nice to keep some of those hospitals open by seeing to it that their bills get paid? The insurance industry would not suffer as they would lead you to believe because of the millions and millions of new customers they would gain. Remember, they testified on Capitol Hill that rates would rise, and then went home and raised rates by over 50% in some states.

    June 9, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. valwayne

    If the Federal Government can order you to buy health insurance because of the impact on interstate commerce than they can order you to buy anything. Or they can order you to stay with a current job, or order you to take a job. Employment decision impact the overall economy as much as health insurance decision. And if the Federal Government can make your health decisions for you than they can tell you want to eat, what to drink, how much sleep to get, what kind of recreational activity you can and can't do. If Obama gets his way than he turnes us all into slaves to the Federal Government. We can all be ordeed to do almost anything!

    June 9, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Name king

    You know what these people never seize to amaze me, I say bring back the insurance policies before Obamacare came into existence, because when the repugs take over, I wonder long it will take them to implement another policy. I still hear the sceaming sounds of jobs jobs jobs. I wonder when will the repugs comes around for that mantra.

    June 9, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. XWngLady

    @citizennry: "The parts of Obamacare that are in affect already have driven up the cost of my health care premiums as well as my co-pay amounts!"....NO. Your INSURANCE COMPANY has driven up the cost of your health care and your premiums, because...THEY CAN! They know that they aren't going to be able to gouge as much from people once the Healthcare Law goes into effect. So, they are going to try to squeeze it out of you now. And they know that you can't do squat about it. The "we don't have any choice but to raise premiums" cry is the oldest lie/trick in the book. Let us see your books, insurance companies! Let us see how much profit you make and what you spend your money on and then let us decide whether you have a choice or not....And oh by the way, you do have a choice. How about you start wilth spending less on lobbyists to get Congress to do your bidding. Or lets try not building tennis courts and swimming pools at your gigantic HQs or giving bonuses or spending so much on marketing. Learn how to manage your internal budgets instead of always deferring to just passing it off to the consumer.

    June 9, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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