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Reason-Rupe: 62 percent of Americans Say Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional

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The recent Reason-Rupe poll focusing on health care policy finds that a majority of Americans (51 percent) do not believe individuals should be required to have health insurance. Fully 62 percent of Americans believe the individual mandate, which requires Americans to have health insurance or else pay a fine, is unconstitutional.

Opposition to the individual mandate to buy health insurance is likely a significant driver of opposition to the new health care law passed by Congress in 2010, with 33 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable. Intensity is found on the side unfavorable toward the law, with 32 percent "very unfavorable" versus the 10 percent "very favorable." These intensity findings concur with a recentKaiser Foundation poll, which finds intensity among those in opposition to the law. 25 percent of respondents said they would be "angry" if the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate whereas 13 percent would be "enthusiastic."

When asked whether Congress should repeal the health care law or let it stand, 49 percent want to repeal it and 36 want to let it stand. Yet, according to the recent Kaiser Foundation poll, 28 percent want to "expand the law" 19 percent want to "keep the law as is", 18 percent want to "repeal the law and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative", and 23 percent want to "repeal the law and not replace it".

Delving deeper into the data, men and women differ on their perceptions of the individual mandate. Whereas a majority (55 percent) of men oppose Congress requiring Americans to have health insurance, women are evenly divided with 47 opposed and 46 percent in favor. Self-identified conservatives and libertarians believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional and do not believe Americans should be required to have health insurance. Although a majority of self-identified liberals and progressives believe Americans should be required to have health insurance, they are less certain about constitutionality. 44 percent of liberals and 45 percent of progressives believe the individual mandate is constitutional, but 45 percent of liberals and 47 percent of progressives believe it is unconstitutional.

A majority of Democrats believe Congress should require health insurance and 50 percent believe it is constitutional. However a majority of Independents and Republicans believe Americans should not be required to have health insurance and believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to require it.

A majority a college graduates do not believe Americans should be required to have health insurance and they also believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional. However, a majority of those with post-graduate degrees do think Americans should be required to have health insurance, but a majority believe to do so is unconstitutional.

Another stark contrast is between public sector and private sector workers. 57 percent of public sector workers believe all Americans should be required to have health insurance, compared to 55 percent of private sector workers who disagree. Nevertheless, majorities within both groups believe the requirement is unconstitutional.

Full poll results found here.

Cross tabs can be found here.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 10th-20th of both mobile and landline phones, 1200 adults, margin of error +/- 3 percent. Columns may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

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  1. There’s an error in the first image (and for once I don’t mean the missing alt-text). The second table is the same as the first.

    1. Drats! You have preempted my comment regarding the informational visual aid!

      *puffs pipe*

      You win this round, Auric.

      1. And I got in a jab about alt-text, too.

        1. Indeed! Your skill in typographical fisticuffs is quite impressive. I say, we need more chaps of your caliber riling up the rabble against this “healthful caring” bill.

          *puffs pipe*

      2. And now all our posts are meaningless, reducing us to only my alt-text complaining.

  2. First image is broken, unless it’s meant to have the same statistical data for two separate questions, the specifics of which contradict the headline.

  3. Health insurance companies are evil and greedy. The government should force us to do business with them.

    1. also, christfag

      1. The above post appears to have been made by an individual who assumes multiple identities, including, but not limited to, “Mary Stack”, “rather”, and “White Indian”.

        Please do not reply to posts made by this person or attempt to engage in debate.

        Characteristics of postings by this person include use of bold and italics, cutting and pasting of writings by Jason Godesky (who appears to not be involved), debating in bad faith, using inciteful language, making large quantities of posts 24/7.

        Thank you for your cooperation.

        1. Good on you for posting these warnings. It frusterates the hell out of me to see the troll-bait on this site constantly having the same argument in every fucking thread, as if this guy was a rational person, and not just some retarted troll that wants to steer every thread off topic.

  4. So I’ve found a good source for top hats, courtesy of another Reason poster, but where is a good source of monocles that aren’t plastic and cheap, and also aren’t hundreds of dollars?

    1. Do you mean you want the higher quality, thousands of dollars monocle? Or perhaps the actually wearable, millions of dollars monocles?

      1. Can I get a monocle insurance plan to ensure I have affordable access to vision care?

        A copay of $20 would be doable, although I think copays are unjust – they deny me access to “preventative care”. (If I can’t see, I might injure myself walking into a lamppost.)

        1. Can I get a monocle insurance plan to ensure I have affordable access to vision care?

          If one is need of insurance to purchase monocles, then one is not of the class of person deserving of such a cultured accessory.

          *puffs pipe*

          Perhaps you would do well to look into those pince-nez pieces that are so popular these days?

          1. Indeed. Insurance? Balderdash! Simply preposterous.

            “If you have to ask”, and all that, eh wot?

            Thank you for typing that for me, Benjamin. You may return to your regular duties for the time being.

            *sips babies blood from diamond-encrusted crystal goblet rimmed with gold*

        2. You disgust me.

    2. http://www.warbyparker.com/monocle/

      Very entrepreneurial company. I read an interview with one of the founders, and he’s a free-markets kind of guy.

      1. That’s what I was thinking of, and darn, those are cheap.

        It’s interesting to observe how Zenni Optical (or Warby Parker) can sell spectacles for $7 – $50, with excellent quality, whilst optometrists who sell glasses paid for by employer or government insurance programmes run into the hundreds of dollars.

        The “free health care for all” idiots will complain about having to pay $7 and instead will want something “free” that costs the government $300. Eventually leading to blindness for all.

        1. Also here. They make no correction ones in shiny metal, as opposed to Warby Parker’s tortoiseshell.

      2. I now get a ton of targeted ads from Warby Parker because y’all talk about monocles here so much. It was hilarious when it started happening.

  5. What the hell is a “pure independent”?

    And of course what the hell is an impure independent?

    Can one be an impure dependent?

    1. A pure independent is one who reliably votes for Democrats, despite disagreeing with most of what they stand for?

  6. interesting factoid i read this weekend from the NIH:
    >in 08 (the most recent yr data compiled), the uninsured consumed ~$115 billion in health care.
    >this added ~$1000/yr to the avg cost of yearly premiums for the insured.
    >which was the reason the heritage foundation advocated for the individual mandate, before they were against it.

    1. The above post appears to have been made by an individual who assumes multiple identities, including, but not limited to, “Mary Stack”, “rather”, and “White Indian”.

      Please do not reply to posts made by this person or attempt to engage in debate.

      Characteristics of postings by this person include use of bold and italics, cutting and pasting of writings by Jason Godesky (who appears to not be involved), debating in bad faith, using inciteful language, making large quantities of posts 24/7.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

    2. the uninsured consumed ~$115 billion in health care.

      how much of it did they pay for? How much of it went unpayed?

      Is tooth paste and contact lens solution considered health care?

      1. the insured pay for the uninsured

        1. The above post appears to have been made by an individual who assumes multiple identities, including, but not limited to, “Mary Stack”, “rather”, “White Indian”, “rctlfy”, and “mstack60”. Potential aliases could also include “shrike” and “o3”, but are not confirmed.

          Please do not reply to posts made by this person or attempt to engage in debate.

          Characteristics of postings by this person include use of bold and italics, cutting and pasting of writings by Jason Godesky (who appears to not be involved), debating in bad faith, using inciteful language, and making large quantities of posts 24/7.

          Thank you for your cooperation.

        2. The uninsured have money.

          Of the ~115 billion consumed how much of it did the uninsured pay for? how much did they not pay for?

          1. wasnt in the article

      2. Can toothpaste and lens solution be used as contraceptives? CAuse if so, then “yes, for sure”. Otherwise, “maybe”.

      3. According to the IRS: No, yes.

    3. this added ~$1000/yr to the avg cost of yearly premiums for the insured.

      How much will they add under Obama care which allows one not to get insurance until they get sick?

      ~$5000/yr according to the Center for American Progress.

  7. It’s good to remember that everyone already has free healthcare. But it’s expensive, emergency care because you can’t be refused from an emergency room no matter your financial situation. This way we get preventative care and everyone saves money.

    1. Emergency care isn’t free since you need to either have access to transportation to get to the ER, or own a cell phone or otherwise have access to a phone to call 911.

      Hence why talking about “free healthcare” is ridiculous.

    2. This way we get preventative care and everyone saves money.

      The link between preventative care and the cost of medical care is not nearly as well established as you think.

      Many county health departments across the country have free clinincs where this kind of care is already available to low income people, especially for mothers and infants.

      Although education levels do correlate with income, the fact that the uneducated simply do not seem to know enough to avail themselves of the services available has a lot more to do with health outcomes than ability to pay.

      See also people using Medicaid who frequently do not start getting treatment until conditions are far advanced.

    3. Its pretty well established that “preventative care” (which consists mostly of giving lots of expensive tests to completely asymptomatic people) does not save money.

  8. I appreciate the American people supporting my rights on this, but I still think it’s important to point out at every opportunity that my rights aren’t a popularity contest.

    …not even when the results of the popularity contest go my way.

    1. Would you agree that rights being popular is a good thing?

      Do you think there would be rights if everyone hated them?

      1. I believe Dred Scott v. Sanford and the Slaughter-House Cases confirm the answer is a resounding “no”. The Supreme Court is a useless body when it comes to defending liberty.

    2. Along the same lines, the question of constitutionality is one that nine highly-trained legal scholars won’t agree on. I suspect that the survey would have been better posed along the lines of “Do you think the individual mandate is good policy?” as opposed to whether they think it’s constitutional. I mean, if you can’t explain the Commerce Clause, I really don’t give a fuck whether you think something is constitutional or not.

      1. SMAAASH!!!

  9. hmm… let’s say the mandate is found constitutional – then what? Will there be riots in the streets, or more of a cold war approach, with some people refusing to get insurance and not paying the penalty, er, tax. Or will the collective just shrug and continue watching .

    1. er, laugh-track tv shows.

    2. I’m afraid the last (shrug).

      “BRING ME MORE BREAD WHILE I WATCH THE CIRCUS!!!”

    3. Or will the collective just shrug and continue watching.

      I am afraid this is what will happen. The collective will reason that five wiser, more educated people, who are empowered by the constitution to rule on these things, said it was constitutional and therefore the law must be followed. Much like people sheepishly go through the rapi-scans.

  10. 62 percent of Americans Say Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional

    Is the same folks who were, like, 62% in favor of going into Iraq shortly after the Sainted In Heaven Nine One!!111One?

    Yeah, I’m sure they’re all geniuses when it comes to reading the Constitution for content.

    1. The “62 percent of Americans Say Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional” probabably also contains a sizable percentage of the 62% that wants someone to pay their doctor and hospital bills; maybe even all of it.

      I’m afraid that the fact that Obamacare is unpopular is not evidence that none of these people don’t want free stuff.

      After all, if you have to pay for it (like you will, through the nose, for Obamacare) it’s not free, is it?

      1. The “62% that wants someone to pay their doctor and hospital bills” is a wild-assed-guess. But probably not far off.

        The Congresscritters that vote for free ponies for everyone aren’t doing it for laughs. People really do want free ponies and the only thing that makles them mad is when Congress gets it wrong; which is pretty much all the time.

  11. No offense meant to Ms Eakins, but polls like this are stupid and pointless.

    Who cares what the majority thinks. Hell, the majority also thinks the way our government assassinated Al Alwaki was constitutional, Gitmo is constitutional and the USAPATRIOT Act is constitutional.

    IOW, there is a vast majority in this country that are abject morons about the contents of our Cunstitution.

    1. Constitution. oops!

  12. Women, Democrats, the Public Sector. Get a fucking room already!

  13. Apparently, there are up to 10% of the respondants to this poll believe that the mandate is unconstitutional and believe the government should force people to purchase health insurance. To those people I ask: Were you dropped on your heads?!

    1. I can answer for them: Haven’t you ever thought that such-and-such should be a rule, but that So-and-So should cheat and violate it? If not, guess you’re not a sport.

      There are plenty of times I think like that when it comes to gov’t policy. I don’t think bribery, assassination, etc. should be legal, but I’m in favor of them in those cases where they would make this a freer world.

      To take another example, my father (a physician) didn’t think physician-assisted suicide should be legal, but thought that authorities should look the other way when it happens.

      Or to simplify, honesty isn’t always the best policy.

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