The following letter was sent to the US Senate by a coalition opposing the mandate forcing citizens to buy health insurance
On behalf of our organizations and the millions of people we represent, we strongly encourage you to oppose the “individual mandate” in the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009.” Our groups and members may disagree on what are the best solutions to our health care problems, but this unprecedented coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum agrees that forcing individuals to buy insurance from private companies under the threat of fines or jail is not the reform we need.
The “individual mandate” is a section of the bill that requires every single American to buy health insurance—whether or not they want it or feel they can afford it—or break the law and face penalties and fines. Consequently, the bill does not actually “cover” 30 million more Americans—instead it makes them criminals if they do not buy insurance from private companies. We hope you agree that it is unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer. This would effectively be a tax—and a huge one—paid directly to a private industry.
Enacting this mandate would be a major victory for the insurance companies at the expense of the American people. It should be no surprise they support the government forcing everyone to buy their product. Imagine how the hamburger industry would respond if the government forced everyone to have hamburgers for lunch or pay fines?
According to the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the average annual premium for single coverage is $4,321. If the 46 million uninsured are forced to purchase private health insurance at that price, then the insurance industry stands to bring in up to $200 billion in new insurance premiums per year. The Senate bill also includes an estimated $630 billion in corporate welfare for private insurance companies in the form of subsidies over the next 10 years, creating even less incentive than currently exists for private insurance premiums to be lowered.
To make matters worse, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that 19 million Americans would not buy insurance and as a result would be forced to pay $29 billion in taxes/fines. The Joint Committee on Taxation has made it clear that failure to pay these fines could result in jail time.
Given these fact, it is not surprising that a recent NBC News poll finds 57 percent of Americans do not want the government to create “a law that requires everyone to have health insurance coverage” and that only 38% of Americans favor the mandate, making it the least popular part of the bill.
The American people stand in firm opposition to the individual mandate. We stand with them. We hope you will, too.
Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, President
Democrats.com, Bob Fertik, President
Healthcare-NOW!, Katie Robbins, National Organizer
Matt Kibbe, President and CEO, FreedomWorks
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Tim Carpenter, Director
Campaign for liberty, John Tate, President
60 Plus Association, Jim Martin, President
Liberty Tree Foundation, Ben Manski, Executive Director
National Taxpayers Union, Duane Parde, President,
National Coalition of Organized Women, Consuela Sylvester, Ohio Director
Citizens for Health, Jim Turner, Chairman,
Competitive Enterprise Institute, Gregory Conko, Senior Fellow
American Association of Small Property Owners, F. Patricia Callahan, President
U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, Dane vonBreichenruchardt, President
Institute for Liberty, Andrew Langer, President
Santa Monicans for Safe Drinking Water Coalition, Gene Burke, Founder, Director
Alliance for Natural Health USA, Gretchen DuBeau, Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Jane M Orient, MD, Executive Director,
Fairfax County Privacy Council, Mike Stollenwerk, Chairman
The Rutherford Institute, John W. Whitehead, President
Pain Relief Network, Siobhan Reynolds, Executive Director
American Policy Center, Tom DeWeese, President
Justice Through Music, Brett Kimberlin, Director
Velvet Revolution, Brad Friedman, Co-Founder
After Downing Street, David Swanson, Co-Founder
Project Vote Count, Mark A. Adams, Founder,
Democracy in Action (DIA), Dorothy Reilly, Organizer
Squadron13.com, Gordon Sturrock, Founder
Democracy for America - Tucson chapter, Richard Kaiser, Co-chair
DownWithTyranny.com, Howie Klein, Publisher
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights, J. Bradley Jansen, Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc., Jim Babka, President
Cyber Privacy Project, Richard Sobel, Director
Citizens For Legitimate Government, Lori R. Price, Managing Editor
Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition, Mike Hearington, Steering Committee
Doctor Patient Medical Association, Kathryn Serkes, Chair