One of the most common tropes coming from critics of "Obama Care" is "The government has never required people to buy any good or service." The reality of life in these here United States is that there are de facto mandates which are imposed by the actions of the U.S. government and the priorities of the legislature.
One of today's big political stories is the passing of a transportation bill before Congress scarpers off for their Independence Day vacation. Of course, the original GOP House bill would have severely cut funding for mass transit. Of course, public transportation is abysmal in most of the U.S., therefore there is a de facto mandate to purchase an automobile if one wants to travel to work, or to conduct necessary errands.
Public transportation is often decried as being injurious to freedom, because, frankly, people are dumbasses. Having a public transportation option increases one's transportation choices- there is nothing so freeing as being able to leave the most expensive consumer good one owns at home, and not having to worry about traffic, parking, and the like. Of course, a public health insurance option would also result in a net gain in "freedom", because it would give Joe Schmo greater independence from the whims of his employer.
Conservatives and Libertarians have a twisted view of "freedom"- they believe that freedom can only be curtailed by government, while some of the greatest threats to individual liberty are now coming from corporations. It boils down to the asshole axiom "socialism is bad, while neo-feudalism is A-OK." Owning a car offers the illusion of freedom- one can travel on one's own terms, but is saddled with gasoline and insurance purchases. Having workplace insurance coverage, with no public option, ties one to the whims of an employer and removes a bargaining chip from the workers (and makes possible the spectre of fundamentalist lunatic employers seriously curtailing their employees' freedom of self-determination).
Contrary to GOP and Libertarian whining, the federal government has been the greatest guarantor of freedom for average Americans. One merely has to look back on the Civil Rights struggles of the mid-twentieth century to realize that state governments and corporations cannot be trusted as stewards of liberty.