Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

'Required' reading on health care

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says the health reform bill doesn't require people to buy insurance.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says the health reform bill doesn't require people to buy insurance.

One of the most controversial elements of the recently passed health care law -- indeed, it has prompted lawsuits by state attorneys general, including Bill McCollum of Florida -- is a provision that tries to corral uninsured Americans into health plans.

But some supporters of the bill object to the characterization of the new law as including an "individual mandate" to buy health insurance. One of the most forceful proponents of this view is U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from South Florida.

At an April 5, 2010, town hall meeting in Fort Lauderdale, an attendee asked, "Congresswoman, who gave you the right or the authority to determine whether or not I have to purchase health care?"

Wasserman Schultz responded, "That's a good question. I'm glad you asked it. We actually have not required in this law that you carry health insurance."

We looked into the the issue and found contradictory language in the bill. But ultimately, we concluded that Wasserman Schultz's comment is a too-cute attempt to spin the bill in the wake of attacks by the bill's critics. We rated her statement Barely True.