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The Individual Mandate’s Shameless Flip-Floppers

From The Hill:

GOPers Who Were For It Before They Were Against It

By Juan Williams

12/05/11 05:15 AM ET

What do Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, have in common?

Long before President Obama, both supported an idea they now pretend to spurn — the idea of requiring people to buy health insurance.

As recently as 2009, Romney publicly supported, the “individual mandate” for buying health insurance. And as recently as last month one of Gingrich’s websites still endorsed the “mandate” for all Americans earning more than $50,000 annually.

Romney and Gingrich are not alone in their history of supporting the idea of a government requirement that everyone buy health insurance. As governor of Utah in 2007, Jon Huntsman endorsed a healthcare reform plan from the United Way of Salt Lake City that called for a mandate.

“I think if you’re going to get it done and get it done right, the mandate has to be part of it in some way, shape or form,” he said at the time.

Gingrich, Romney and Huntsman are wide open to charges of political hypocrisy.

They apparently feel the need to fake their outrage over the individual mandate to win the GOP nomination. In an age of outrageous political posturing — telling lies and daring anyone to call you on it — this is the strongest indicator of the current lack of leadership and honest political debate about major national problems.

And it is not even good politics. Continue reading

South Carolina: Home Of Individual-Mandate Hypocrisy

From Slate:

South Carolina Gov. Nikiki Haley | Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Why aren’t conservatives complaining about this South Carolina insurance law?

By |

Posted Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

The “individual mandate” in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act has provoked incredible enthusiasm among the act’s supporters and towering rage in its opponents. The obligation either to purchase insurance or to pay a fine whose proceeds would be used to offset the cost of care to the uninsured is viewed either as an essential part of the architecture of health care reform or as an affront to liberty. In few places has the attack on the individual mandate been more vociferous than in South Carolina, where both new Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Jim DeMint are leading members of the Tea Party movement. They view the individual mandate as inimical to our Constitution and the worst manifestation of government excess.

So it may surprise you to know that South Carolina has its own individual mandate—structured exactly like the federal health care mandate, but for auto insurance. Unlike virtually all other states, which require every driver to carry liability insurance, South Carolina has a more complex system. Under South Carolina state law, in effect for more than a decade, a car owner in the state must either have liability insurance or obtain an “uninsured motorist registration.” The fee for the uninsured registration is $550 and is deposited into the “uninsured drivers fund.” The website of the South Carolina Department of Insurance explains that the $550 fee is used to “offset the costs of uninsured motorist coverage.” (Some portion is also used for consumer education programs.) The “uninsured motorist coverage” is a cost borne by drivers who have their own liability insurance but also need additional insurance to provide for coverage in the event they have an accident caused by a driver who does not have liability insurance—the “uninsured driver.”  By statute—SC Code section 38-77-155—funds from the uninsured drivers fund are distributed to insurers who offer this uninsured motorist coverage. Bottom line: South Carolina forcibly transfers money from drivers who refuse to buy insurance to drivers who do buy insurance to cover the costs of risk created by the drivers who don’t buy insurance. Continue reading

Hypocrisy Alert: The GOP’s Jilted Individual Mandate

By Noam N. Levey

Washington Bureau

May 28, 2011

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has renounced it. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he doesn’t believe in it anymore. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has brushed off suggestions he even considered it.

As the three have discovered, there is hardly a bigger black mark against a Republican presidential candidate today than the hint of past support for requiring Americans to get health insurance — as President Obama‘s new healthcare law mandates.

But Republicans were not always so hostile. Until the healthcare law passed last year, requiring medical insurance had a long history as a mainstream GOP idea.

It was promoted by conservative policy experts at places like the Heritage Foundation more than 20 years ago. In the 1990s, the concept was championed by Republicans on Capitol Hill.

And it was ultimately implemented by Romney in Massachusetts; in 2006 he became the first elected official from either party to sign a mandate into law.

“I still don’t see what the objection is to the idea that people should not be allowed to run around without at least some basic health insurance,” said Mark Pauly, a conservative health economist at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton School.

Emphasizing personal responsibility, Pauly and other conservatives have argued that the uninsured incur medical bills as other Americans do; the tab is just picked up by someone else. Continue reading

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