As Mitt Romney’s surrogates attacked Newt Gingrich for failing to fully endorse Paul Ryan’s Medicare privatization plan, the pro-Romney Restore Our Future PAC has launched a new ad in Iowa targeting the former House speaker for his 30 years as a Washington insider and his multiple positions on several issues, including his past support for a national individual health insurance mandate:
And Newt was a long-time supporter of a national health insurance mandate, the centerpiece of Obamacare. Maybe that’s why George Will called Gingrich, “the least conservative candidate.”
The Romney attacks are peculiar because the “baggage” Gingrich is accused of carrying is also borne by the Massachusetts governor. In fact, both candidates have almost identical positions on both the Ryan plan — they generally support it, but would still allow seniors to spend their premium vouchers in traditional Medicare — and the individual health insurance mandate.
Romney first touted what he described as “the ultimate conservative idea” to reducing Massachusetts’ uncompensated care costs in 2005, and suggested that all able bodied residents should take “personal responsibility” for their own health care spending. He initially proposed that families and individuals who did not purchase coverage would be required to spend $10,000 in the form of a bond that could be used to pay for hospital care down the road, which is precisely the kind of plan Gingrich endorsed as recently as May of 2011. “I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement to either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you are going to be held accountable,” Gingrich said earlier this year.
And in case you still think that there is some day light between Romney and Gingrich, recall that the former Massachusetts governor repeatedly advocated the mandate as a national solution, telling Newsweek in December of 2007, “If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.” He reiterated this belief to NBC just a couple of days later: “I think you’re going to find when it’s all said and done, after all these states that are the laboratories of democracy, get their chance to try their own plans, but those who follow the path that we pursued will find it’s the best path, and we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.”
Romney is attacking Gingrich for the same policy he once supported — right down to the details.