Rep. Andrews: Feds Should Require Individuals to Buy Health Insurance

By Nicholas Ballasy | January 21, 2011 | 2:02 PM EST

( -- Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) told that the federal government should require individuals to purchase health insurance because currently an uninsured person can go to the emergency room and “their bill is paid by insured middle class people.”

Following the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on Tuesday, asked Andrews if individuals should be required by the federal government to purchase health insurance.

“I do and here’s the reason. I think that if an uninsured person goes to the emergency room their bill is paid by insured middle class people,” he told

“They get care in a hospital and it’s paid for by people who either pay taxes or health insurance premiums so these are individuals who frankly are passing off the cost of their care on middle class people who pay taxes and health insurance premiums. I don’t think that’s fair and I think that the individual mandate is really the only effective way to solve that problem.”

So far, 27 states attorneys general have sued the federal government, arguing that the individual mandate in the health care law is unconstitutional.

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.)

Andrews was also asked if he thinks the fine penalizing individuals for not purchasing health insurance should be raised, given that they could still go the emergency room and receive care without insurance.

“I think we have to see how it works in practice. I think most people will sign up for health insurance the way almost every one signs up for auto insurance – there is some people who don’t and we’ll have to assess whether this is working or not once it plays out and has some time,” he responded.