On the same day the Supreme Court announced it would take up lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) took aim at GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney and insurgent Newt Gingrich for their role in crafting one of the law’s key components — the individual mandate:
BACHMANN: Our candidate can’t be compromised. We have candidates that are compromised on the individual health care mandate, which is Obamacare. It was Newt Gingrich’s idea, and Mitt Romney implemented it.
In many ways, Bachmann is absolutely right. The concept of the individual mandate actually originated at the conservative Heritage Foundation, but Gingrich was an early and strong supporter. “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance,” Gingrich said on Meet the Press in 1993. He supported it as recently as 2007, writing in a Des Moines Register op-ed, “Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance.”
Romney himself pointed this out in a debate, saying, “Actually Newt, we got the idea of the individual mandate from you…and the Heritage Foundation.” And of course, as has been repeatedly noted, the groundbreaking universal health care program Romney implemented as governor of Massachusetts was very similar to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and employed the individual mandate. Romney actively lobbied for the mandate
to be included in his reform. (HT: Christian Heinze)