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News Release

Mandate for Health Insurance:
Inconvenient Truths about How It Will Affect You and Your Family

(July 22, 2009)—There are many provisions in the House Tri-Committee health-reform bill (H.R. 3200) that concern citizens who care greatly about the freedom to choose their health care.  Some of the key concerns are that the bill:  

  • Eliminates existing private insurance coverage (i.e., eliminates your choice of insurance that is not “acceptable” to the federal government, but is just fine with you and your family)1
  • Includes the AMA-backed/insurance industry-backed mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance2
  • Denies coverage for unlicensed alternative providers (in the public insurance plan)3
  • Paves the way for use of machine-readable health-plan ID cards for everyone4
  • Establishes a “real time” data system (to determine financial responsibility and eligibility for health care)5
  • Promotes child home visits6
  • Moves 83.4 million people from private to public insurance7
  • Includes a single-payer health-care amendment8
  • Requires everyone to buy a health plan essentially written by the Federal HHS Secretary9

“It is vitally important for Americans to understand that these anti-freedom and anti-privacy provisions will be enforced through a mandate for health insurance,” says Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom in Washington, DC.  

“Once government says you must buy an ‘acceptable’ plan, it dictates what that means, including what the benefits will cover or not cover, and who will or will not be a legal health-care provider. It also leads to identifying and tracking individuals and their health-care utilization.  The bottom line is that a health-insurance mandate is THE key to government-dictated health care,” she stresses.

“The federal government should not be forcing people to buy certain products through an industry-backed insurance mandate.  Coercion is not the American way. Health freedom of choice and privacy is,” Blevins says. 

Inconvenient Truths about the Health-Insurance Mandate 

Greg Scandlen, director of Consumers for Health Care Choices at the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, notes that “Washington interest groups support an individual mandate because they are trying to shift the responsibility to the least politically powerful.  But here are two important truths about a health-insurance mandate:  (1) It doesn't work (consider, for example, that auto coverage is mandated, but 15% of drivers are uninsured); and (2) It is popular only with the people not affected.  In Massachusetts 60% of those directly affected say the law is hurting them.  Only 22% say it is helping them. Instead of dictating to the uninsured we should be listening to them. They are telling us the coverage that is available today is not attractive. They are right.”10

Moreover, according to another recent Rasmussen survey 56 percent of Americans oppose a health-insurance mandate, while 31 percent support it and 14 percent aren’t sure.11


1Investor’s Business Daily, July 15, 2009 notes:  “It didn't take long to run into an ‘uh-oh’ moment when reading the House's ‘health care for all Americans’ bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal.  When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document [H.R. 3200] was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee. It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of ‘Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,’ the ‘Limitation On New Enrollment’ section of the bill clearly states: ‘Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day’ of the year the legislation becomes law. So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.” 

2 “AMA Adopts Mandatory Insurance Requirement,” Health Freedom Watch, Institute for Health Freedom, October 2006: 

3 The House Tri-Committee bill (H.R. 3200) includes the following provision: “SEC. 225. Provider Participation: (a) In General—The Secretary shall establish conditions of participation for health care providers under the public health insurance option. (b) Licensure or Certification—The Secretary shall not allow a health care provider to participate in the public health insurance option unless such provider is appropriately licensed or certified under State law.”  [Emphasis added.]  See pg. 126 of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” H.R. 3200. 

4 See pages 57-58 of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” H.R. 3200. 

5 See pages 57-58 of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” H.R. 3200.

6 “Stealth Agenda in Health-Care Bill: Early Childhood Home Visitation,” by Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation Blog, July 17, 2009.

7 “The Lewin Group’s Analysis of the July 15 Draft of The American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” July 17, 2009.

9 See “Process for Adoption of Recommendations; Adoption of Benefit Standards,” Sec. 124 (pg. 35) of “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” H.R. 3200.

10 Quoted (with permission) directly from Greg Scandlen, July 22, 2009; Citing “Massachusetts Health Reform: A Public Perspective from Debate Through Implementation,” Health Affairs, 27, no. 6 (2008).

11 Rasmussen Reports, “Toplines - Health Care II - May 15-16, 2009.


The Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) is a national nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to bring the issues of personal health freedom to the forefront of the American health-policy debate. IHF monitors and reports on national policies that affect citizens' freedom to choose their health-care treatments and providers, and to maintain their health privacy—including genetic privacy. IHF is not affiliated with any other organization..