Can't force vaccines on people: Aetna CEO

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With more than 100 reported cases of measles across the United States, the debate is heating up over whether vaccines should be mandatory.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Tuesday that he believed it was a "big public health issue" but said there are other ways to handle the matter other than mandating vaccines.

"I don't think we can force people," Bertolini said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

"I think we have options in both the workplace and the schools to enforce some regimen around vaccines. I think that's where we ought to handle it."

Read More Public health officials: Get measles vaccines

Bertolini noted that he and his children have been vaccinated and that he personally "believes in it strongly."

Vaccines have become a hot-button political issue, with politicians and presumable presidential hopefuls on both sides of the aisle weighing in.

President Barack Obama has urged parents to vaccinate their children, but the White House would not say whether a federal law should mandate vaccinations. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said it should "absolutely" be mandatory. However, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told CNBC Monday he believes vaccines should be voluntary, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has called for choice and balance.

Read MoreVaccines should be voluntary: Rand Paul

The current measles outbreak is linked to California's Disneyland and has spread across several states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 102 people from 14 states reported coming down with the disease in January and most of those cases were part of the outbreak linked to the amusement park.