President Obama: Jail Time for Those without Health Care Insurance?


obama3During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper yesterday, President Obama said that penalties are appropriate for people who try to “free ride” the health care system but stopped short of endorsing the threat of jail time for those who refuse to pay a fine for not having insurance.”What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don’t, you’re subject to some penalty, that in this situation, if you have the ability to buy insurance, it’s affordable and you choose not to do so, forcing you and me and everybody else to subsidize you, you know, there’s a thousand dollar hidden tax that families all across America are — are burdened by because of the fact that people don’t have health insurance, you know, there’s nothing wrong with a penalty.”

Under the House bill those who can afford to buy insurance and don’t’ pay a fine. If the refuse to pay that fine there’s a threat – as with a lot of tax fines – of jail time. The Senate removed that provision in the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Obama said penalties have to be high enough for people to not game the system, but it’s also important to not be “so punitive” that people who are having a hard time find themselves suddenly worse off, thus why hardship exemptions have been built in the legislation.

“I think the general broad principle is simply that people who are paying for their health insurance aren’t subsidizing folks who simply choose not to until they get sick and then suddenly they expect free health insurance. That’s — that’s basic concept of responsibility that I think most Americans abide by,” Mr. Obama said, “penalties are appropriate for people who try to free ride the system and force others to pay for their health insurance.”

The President said that he didn’t think the question over the appropriateness of possible jail time is the “biggest question” the House and Senate are facing right now.

{Blog at Newscenter}


  1. That would be a great. The streets of Newark, Camden, Trenton, Washington, Detroit, ect… will be empty if they put all people without health insurance in jail. (most of those people belong in jail anyway)

  2. There’s a big difference in the requiring of car insurance or health insurance. If you drive a car you have a potential liablity against someone else. You need insurance to protect yourself from other drivers or drivers from you. But, if you have no health insurance you hurt no one (other than yourself, if you think having insurance will be of benefit to you.)If I only use practitioners who are holistic and use natural and alternative methods of healing, no insurance policy will cover me, yet I am willing to pay for it as I get my choice of medical care.I am not willing to pay thousands of dollars for conventional health care, which I probably will never use. I hope Obama’s plans go into the garbage because most Americans don’t want his health care.

  3. #2 – You’re dead wrong. If you don’t have health insurance I sure will end up paying for you. You’ll go without preventive care and wind up with diabetes or heart disease or another chronic illness, and your only “doctor” will be the local emergency room, which can’t turn you away.

    You’ll go in sicker, stay longer, need more treatment, and use more money that if you had health insurance and followed the doctor’s orders. Plus, you stand a greater chance of becoming disabled and not able to work at all. Or you could catch something nice like tuberculosis and give it to all your friends and relatives (and me, if I’m unlucky enough to sit next to you on the subway.)

    Don’t kid yourself – when it comes to health we’re all “areivim zeh l’zeh.”

    And by the way, the Institute of Medicine (our “national medical school”) estimates that 18,000 – 20,000 people a year *die* simply because they didn’t have the money for the doctor or their prescriptions. Do you think HaShem will have so much patience with a society that lets people die like that? Isn’t the “crash” we’re trying to come out of a “gentle hint” that something about our greedy and materialistic society isn’t being approved of “up above?”