“The government of course has a lot of mandates, and I know folks don’t like that — mandates kids go to school, mandates they have to have auto insurance if they have an automobile. And my conservative friends say, well we don’t have to have automobiles, well what state do you live in? Of course you have to have automobiles in this nation,” Mitt Romney said on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor last night when asked to defend the individual mandate that’s part of his 2006 health care reform law. Watch it:
The former governor went on to argue that only states have the right to impose such mandates, but recall that conservatives — who supported individual responsibility in health care until President Obama embraced it — had been making the auto insurance analogy in explaining their support for a federal mandate as recently as 2009. Here is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) making this case in June 2009 on Fox News Sunday:
GRASSLEY: But when it comes to states requiring it for automobile insurance, the principle then ought to lie the same way for health insurance. Because everybody has some health insurance costs, and if you aren’t insured, there’s no free lunch. Somebody else is paying for it….I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates.