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October 22, 2013 / needhamgrassroots

The Tortuous History of Conservatives and the Individual Mandate – Forbes

heritagecareFrom Forbes — In 1992 and 1993, some Republicans in Congress, seeking an alternative to Hillarycare, used these ideas as a foundation for their own health-reform proposals. One such bill, the Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993, or HEART, was introduced in the Senate by John Chafee (R., R.I.) and co-sponsored by 19 other Senate Republicans, including Christopher Bond, Bob Dole, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, Alan Simpson, and Arlen Specter. Given that there were 43 Republicans in the Senate of the 103rd Congress, these 20 comprised nearly half of the Republican Senate Caucus at that time. The HEART Act proposed health insurance vouchers for low-income individuals, along with an individual mandate.

Newt Gingrich, who was House Minority Leader in 1993,  was also in favor of an individual mandate in those days. Gingrich continued to support a federal individual mandate as recently as May of last year.

It would seem that 1990s conservatives weren’t concerned with the constitutional implications of allowing Congress to force people to buy a private product. “I don’t remember that being raised at all,”  Mark Pauly told Ezra Klein last year. “The way it was viewed by the Congressional Budget Office in 1994 was, effectively, as a tax…So I’ve been surprised by that argument.”



…when Mitt Romney designed his health plan in Massachusetts, he did so in large part with the assistance of the Heritage Foundation, especially Bob Moffit and Ed Haislmaier. “I want to begin by saying thank you to Bob Moffit and Ed Haislmaier,” said Romney at a Heritage event in 2006. “Bob and Ed worked very extensively with our team as we were developing our plan for health care.” Replied Moffit, “We’ve been honored by your request—myself and my colleague Ed Haislmaier, who’s done a lot of the work on this bill—to participate in giving our best advice and our technical assistance in designing a new and different kind of health insurance market.”

But there was one twist: Romneycare, as passed by the Massachusetts legislature, included both an individual mandate and an employer mandate, making it more like Enthoven’s “managed competition” plan than Heritage’s individual-market plan. Romney vetoed the employer mandate, but the legislature, which was 80 percent Democratic, overrode his veto.

Hence, while it’s accurate to say that Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare, one difference between the two situations was that the Democrats behind Obamacare were quite comfortable with dual mandates upon employers and individuals, whereas Mitt Romney had favored an individual mandate but opposed an employer mandate.

via The Tortuous History of Conservatives and the Individual Mandate – Forbes.


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