In recent days, GOP leaders have focused their crosshairs on the individual mandate, a key component of an effective health care reform bill. FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey (R-TX) attacked the mandate as a “healthcare industry boondoggle”, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called the mandate a “stunning assault on liberty,” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) delayed the committee mark-up by questioning the mandate’s constitutionality.
Most notably, Sen. Chuck Grassley has suddenly become an opponent of the mandate:
HEMMER: Now as I understand it, you want stronger language preventing federal funds from going to abortion. You want stronger language to make sure illegal immigrants are not covered. If you got those two big points, would you go for it?
GRASSLEY: No, there are other points as well, but let me mention other points that you didn’t mention. And one would be the individual mandate, which for the first time would have a federal penalty against people who don’t have health insurance. I could do that through re-insurance and risk pools, to make sure we get more people insured in a voluntary way and I’m very reluctant to go along with an individual mandate.
In spite of their current rhetoric, it wasn’t long ago that Grassley and many of his Republican colleagues were strong supporters ofthe individual mandate. Progressive Media compiled a series of GOP endorsements of a mandate. Watch it: