Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should there be a federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance?
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following during his Sep. 9, 2009 "Remarks by the President to a Joint Session of Congress on Health Care," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"The plan I'm announcing tonight would meet three basic goals. It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance for those who don't. And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government. It's a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for meeting this challenge - not just government, not just insurance companies, but everybody including employers and individuals...
Now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those - especially the young and the healthy - who still want to take the risk and go without coverage. There may still be companies that refuse to do right by their workers by giving them coverage. The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don't sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for these people's expensive emergency room visits... unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek - especially requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions - just can't be achieved...
And that's why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance - just as most states require you to carry auto insurance." Sep. 9, 2009 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Prior to Barack Obama's Pro statement from Sep. 9, 2009, he expressed a Con position as indicated by his statement during a Feb. 28, 2008 interview on NBC's Ellen DeGeneres Show, available at www.cnsnews.com, below.]
"Both of us [Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton] want to provide health care to all Americans. There’s a slight difference, and her plan is a good one. But, she mandates that everybody buy health care. She’d have the government force every individual to buy insurance and I don’t have such a mandate because I don’t think the problem is that people don’t want health insurance, it’s that they can’t afford it. So, I focus more on lowering costs. This is a modest difference. But, it’s one that she’s tried to elevate, arguing that because I don’t force people to buy health care that I’m not insuring everybody. Well, if things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t." Feb. 28, 2008 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during the Dec. 10, 2011 Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, IA, hosted by ABC News, The Des Moines Register, and the Republican Party of Iowa, available at www.abc.go.com:
"GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: ...Governor Romney, let me begin with you because - you were clear. You've said you've always been against a federal mandate; you supported it in the State of Massachusetts...
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: ...my plan - was designed for our state, and other states should have the right to create plans that work for them. And if they come up with something better than we did, then we can learn from them. But the idea of a federal government or a federal mandate, as you see with Obamacare, flies in the face of the Constitution, violates the tenth amendment. I think the Supreme Court will strike it down. If they don't, I will." Dec. 10, 2011 Mitt Romney
[Editor’s Note: As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney supported a state-level health insurance mandate as is evidenced by his Apr. 11, 2006 opinion article, "Health Care for Everyone? We Found a Way," available at online.wsj.com:
"[In Massachusetts] 40% of the uninsured were earning enough to buy insurance but had chosen not to do so. Why? Because it is expensive and because they know that if they become seriously ill, they will get free or subsidized treatment at the hospital. By law, emergency care cannot be withheld. Why pay for something you can get for free?
Of course, while it may be free for them, everyone else ends up paying the bill, either in higher insurance premiums or taxes...
I proposed that everyone must either purchase a product of their choice or demonstrate that they can pay for their own health care. It's a personal responsibility principle...
Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian...
...[B]ecause health insurance will now be affordable and subsidized, we insist that everyone purchase health insurance from one of our private insurance companies."]
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in the Apr. 4, 2012 article "Forget Obamacare: Steincare Would Cover All," available at www.jillstein.org:
"The mandate that every American buy expensive, inadequate health insurance is a scheme developed by Republicans and foisted on the nation by Democrats. The winners are the health insurance companies...
Americans spend far more money on health care than other industrial democracies but have a poorly performing health care system, ranked only 37th in the world, due to the cancerous burden of private health insurance. Obama and the Democrats turned their backs on Medicare—a proven solution. Instead they enacted a health insurance mandate whose prime goal will be to increase insurance company profits." Apr. 12, 2012 Jill Stein
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Aug. 11, 2011 Republican presidential debate in Ames, IA, sponsored by Fox News, The Washington Examiner, and the Republican Party of Iowa, available at foxnewsinsider.com:
"WALLACE: Congressman Paul, you are a constitutional expert, and you talk a lot about the Constitution. What do you think of this argument, that the state has a constitutional right to make someone buy a good or service just because they‘re a resident, not because they‘re driving and need a driver‘s license, but just the fact that they are a resident?
PAUL: No, the way I would understand the Constitution, the federal government can't go in and prohibit the states from doing bad things. And I would consider that a very bad thing, but you don‘t send in a federal police force because they‘re doing it and throw them in a court. So they do have that leeway under our Constitution.
But we have big trouble in this medical care problem. And we have drifted so far from any of our care being delivered by the marketplace. And once you get the government involved — and both parties have done it. They‘ve developed a bit of a medical care delivery system based on corporatism. The corporations are doing quite well, whether it‘s Obama or under the Republicans.
The drug companies do well. The insurance companies do well. The organized medicine do well. The management companies do well. The patient and the doctors suffer. There‘s a wedge. Every time you have the government get in here with these regulations, and have these mandates, there‘s a wedge driven in between the doctor and the patient. We have to get the people more control of their care, and that‘s why these medical savings accounts could at least introduce the notion of market delivery of medical care." Aug. 11, 2011 Ron Paul
[Editor's Note: In addition to the Aug. 11, 2011 statement above, Ron Paul stated the following in his Apr. 18, 2012 Texas Straight Talk article "End the Mandate," available at paul.house.gov:
"...[T]he very imposition of a health insurance mandate, no matter how 'minimal,' violates the principles of individual liberty upon which this country was founded."]