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Obama on whether individual mandate is a tax: 'It is absolutely not'



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Sep 20, 2009

Obama: Mandate is Not a Tax

ABC News Interview

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: ...during the campaign.  Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't. How is that not a tax?



OBAMA:  Well, hold on a second, George. Here - here's what's happening.  You and I are both paying $900, on average - our families - in higher premiums because of uncompensated care.  Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that.

That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances.  And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  That may be, but it's still a tax increase.



OBAMA:  No.  That's not true, George.  The - for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.  What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.



STEPHANOPOULOS:  But it may be fair, it may be good public policy ...



OBAMA:  No, but - but, George, you - you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase.  Any ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  Here's the ...



OBAMA:  What - what - if I - if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  I - I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax - "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."



OBAMA:  George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now.  Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition.  I mean what ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  Well, no, but ...



OBAMA: ... what you're saying is ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  I wanted to check for myself.  But your critics say it is a tax increase.



OBAMA:  My critics say everything is a tax increase.  My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy.  You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but ...



STEPHANOPOULOS:  But you reject that it's a tax increase?



OBAMA:  I absolutely reject that notion.



Jun 28, 2012 - 12:18 pm
vrab
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What a crook.
 
Romney is no better unfortunately.

Jun 28, 2012 - 12:25 pm
PedroDePacas
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He will be if he gets rid of this

And as long as he isn't O he is better at this point.

Jun 28, 2012 - 12:48 pm
Fallon
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Romney started a very similar bill/tax in Massachusetts.

Jun 28, 2012 - 12:51 pm
PedroDePacas
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Look at why he did that in Mass.  The Dems were pushing a bill thru, one way or the other.  He did get to help shape it to not be so bad.  And he also told them it would bankrupt the state.  

So did he come up with Romneycare because he is a socialist, or did he do what he had to do in a Dem state with both houses fully Dem?  

Big difference from O.  

And right now I'd vote for Satin himself over O.  Not that there is much difference in the two...

Jun 28, 2012 - 01:14 pm
Fallon
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Perry's succession idea is more appealing by the day.
 
Idea: How 'bout the confederate states get together with Mexico and start our own country. Let the crap up north feed off of each other until they are no more.
 

Jun 28, 2012 - 01:17 pm
TexINS
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You know what O did after the Supreme Courts vote this week on immigration is even worse than this.  ICE will not be taking calls from AZ.  I mean what kind of 2 yr old is O?  He doesn't get his way so he has a mad fit and screws a whole state?  He proves himself to be a complete pos everyday.  

Jun 28, 2012 - 01:20 pm
Fallon
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I wish we could just give the arse clowns in washington play money and let them pretend to make laws. Meanwhile us grownups can continue our own pursuits of happiness.

Jun 28, 2012 - 01:22 pm
TexINS
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The individual mandate was put in to appease insurance companies. Since insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing coverage, what's stopping every American from dropping their health insurance until they get sick? The insurance companies wanted reassurance that individuals would not drop insurance in droves and just pick it up later when they need it, which would raise insurance rates for everybody. If you are too poor to pay for your own health insurance, the government will offer assistance. If you can afford health insurance but simply wish to go without it, that is fine. The individual mandate exist so when you DO want health insurance, you can take advantage of the better competetive rates that will exist thanks to healthcare reform.
Lack of health insurance is a major killer in the United States. A new study put out by the American Journal of Public Health estimates 45,000 deaths anually that can be contributed to lack of health insurance.
I am very happy that congress has been able to pass any form of healthcare reform at all. I am happy that it will offer healthcare to millions of Americans that couldn't get it in the past, and do what it can to lower exorbant insurance rates. It also allows the FDA to approve new generic drugs to keep pharmacutical costs down.
Finally something is being done with healthcare reform, which is something that republicans can't agree on if they tried.

Jun 28, 2012 - 02:52 pm
derp
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@derp

you have been listening to too much propoganda put out there. do your own research on what it will do to EVERYONE.

research the projected longterm costs.

Jun 28, 2012 - 02:58 pm
BooBear
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I am happy that it will offer healthcare to millions of Americans that couldn't get it in the past


@derp:
 
yeah, healthcare that paid for with other people's money.  why should hardworking people be responsible for the healthcare of those too lazy to go out and get a job and pay for their own?
 

 

Jun 28, 2012 - 03:03 pm
TreHawks
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"Romney started a very similar bill/tax in Massachusetts."

A state isn't the nation.  American citizens can escape state laws they don't like.  They cannot escape federal laws unless they leave the country.  That's a cornerstone of conservative ideals.  That people keep saying "they're all the same" shows they don't understand conservative ideals.

Jun 28, 2012 - 03:08 pm
fcabanski
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The elections are between bad and worse.  4 years of politics and this is the best the right has to offer?
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7PG4j2K0dA
 
Obama could have taken those words himself to use for justifying ObamaCare.  Oh wait, he did.
 
Thanks Mitt!  A$$hole.

Jun 28, 2012 - 03:20 pm
kpdad
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I am happy that it will offer healthcare to millions of Americans that couldn't get it in the past


@derp:
 
yeah, healthcare that paid for with other people's money.  why should hardworking people be responsible for the healthcare of those too lazy to go out and get a job and pay for their own?
 

 


@TreHawks:
Millions of Americans don't have healthcare because their employers do not have the means necessary to offer a healthcare plan by forking over half the costs associated making healthcare available to their employees. I just don't understand how Replublicans are OK with the current system that ties employees to a job just so they can recieve healthcare benefits. Health care should be affordable to an individual without their employer having to pay for half of it. The current system:
 
1. Ties employess to a job they may not be productive at or like just so they can recieve health insurance
 
2. Severely harms small businesses who cannot afford healthcare benefits for their employees.
 
I hate that the only way for an American to recieve health insurance is through their employer. Otherwise it is simply too expensive to handle, that is how expensive healthcare costs have become. I haven't heard much of a peep out of Republicans regarding the problem of employers having to take on the tremendous extra weight that health insurance costs them. Rather, most just complain that "Obamacare" is a bad idea.




Jun 28, 2012 - 03:42 pm
derp
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derp- If someone chooses to work somewhere they dont offer health insurance, they buy their own!!!
 
thats how it has always worked!

Jun 28, 2012 - 03:48 pm
PedroDePacas
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derp- If someone chooses to work somewhere they dont offer health insurance, they buy their own!!!
 
thats how it has always worked!


@PedroDePacas:

But that is part what healthcare reform is trying to accomplish. Buying healthcare by yourself, be it because you're self employed or because your employer doesn't offer health benefits, is too expensive for the average American to afford.

Jun 28, 2012 - 05:24 pm
derp
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