It’s another election year and Republicans are campaigning on the repeal of Obamacare.
One of the main Republican complaints about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the individual mandate. But did you know that the individual mandate was created by the Republican Party back in 1993 as a response to President Clinton’s attempt to overhaul the existing healthcare system? The Clinton administration’s healthcare plan included a provision that employers would be required to provide healthcare for all their employees. Inversely, the GOP position was that it was not employers who bore that burden; rather it should be individuals who must bear that responsibility.
As a result the Republican Health Care bill of 1993 entitled Health Equity and Access Reform Today (HEART) [Senate Bill S.1770], written by GOP Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, included a provision for an “Individual Mandate” – a requirement that individuals must purchase health insurance. Interestingly enough, nearly half the Republican Caucus in the Senate agreed with this bill creating the “individual mandate” and the 20 co-sponsors included GOP Senators Ben-Nett, Bond, Brown, Cohen, Danforth, Dole, Domenici, Durenberger, Faircloth, Gorton, Grassley, Hatfield, Kassebaum, Lugar, Specter, Stevens and Warner.
On September 15, 1993, the National Journal reported that the Republican “Senate plan would create an individual mandate for health insurance similar to one that now exists for auto insurance.” Two days later, on Sept. 17th, the Associated Press reported that Congressional Republicans “pushed their own proposal, which would require individuals to purchase insurance”.
Republican Sen. John Chaffee, the author of the Republican Health Bill, stated on Sept. 7, 1993 that “I and the majority of Republicans… strongly believe the route to go is an individual mandate”. Sept. 24, 1993 on CNN’s Crossfire, Republican Sen. Don Nickles stated “We do have an individual mandate. We do say that everybody in America has to provide for themselves”. Sen. Bob Dole stated before the National Governor’s Association on Feb. 1, 1994: “Well, we have an individual mandate in our plan. We have an individual mandate as opposed to the employer mandate”. Republican think tank, the Heritage Foundation, published a healthcare plan which also included that very same “individual mandate”.
Newt Gingrich has argued for the “individual mandate” as recently as 2008. Mitt Romney backed a federal “individual healthcare mandate” in 1994 and urged President Obama to “embrace the ‘individual mandate’ “ federally in 2009. GOP Senator and cosponsor of the bill, Sen. Grassley, supported the “individual mandate” in June of 2009 on Fox News, where he compared it to the automobile insurance requirement and stated: “I believe that there is a bi-partisan consensus to have ‘individual mandates'”. So what seems to have happened is that Republicans created the “individual healthcare mandate” as part of their “small government agenda” in 1993 and were still supporting it long after Obama became president. Then, once the Obama administration agreed and adopted the “individual mandate”, the concept suddenly became tyranny, unconstitutional and part of the “liberal socialist agenda”.
For example. in May of 2011 GOP Sen. Grassley reversed himself on Fox News stating: “I personally think, and I think that constitutional lawyers think, that the ‘mandate’ in of itself is unconstitutional”.
Isn’t that special?!?
Rachel Maddow broke it all down on March 26, 2012: