Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker spoke about the health care debate Thursday afternoon in Waynesboro. He was invited to speak to the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs there.
Wicker said the House version of a health care reform bill that narrowly passed last weekend also includes a first-of-its-kind mandate on individuals.
"It would be the first time the federal government has ever required individuals to purchase something," said Wicker. "And of course if they don't do it there would be penalties. And in my understanding there would be a potential for jail time there."
Wicker said competition is what helps keep costs down, rather than mandates.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid says he still hopes to bring a reform package to the floor next week. His target remains passing a bill by year's end.
Wicker said he does believe there will be ample time for the debate.