Newt Gingrich And The Individual Mandate

Over at Mother Jones, David Corn discovers that like the Newt Gingrich of three years ago, the former speaker’s for-profit think tank, the Center for Health Transformation (CHT), also promotes the individual health insurance mandate:

Gingrich first backed the concept in 1993, “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance,” he said on Meet the Press. He supported the idea in 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” — and again in 2008: “Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond).”

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.” “I absolutely did work with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare,” Gingrich conceded.

CHT also works with business groups that may benefit from the mandate. As Lee Fang has reported, CHT serves approximately 94 health industry corporations and lobby groups, including health insurance (BlueCross BlueShield Association, WellPoint, AHIP, UnitedHealth), health IT (L-3 Enterprise, Microsoft, IBM), and pharmaceutical companies — with each paying up to $200,000 annually.