The individual health care mandate approved in Massachusetts under then-Gov. Mitt Romney–requiring everyone to buy health care insurance–was enacted with the help of the late Sen. Ted. Kennedy and President George W. Bush, plus backing from conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation.
So says Ryan Lizza’s lengthy report in the June 6 issue of the New Yorker. Regrettably, you have to pay to see the full article online, but there is a concise summary.
Why were Bush and Kennedy involved? Because Massachusetts had a special funding arrangement with federal medical payment systems that needed to stay in place for the Massachusetts plan to work.
The article also notes that during the 2008 campaign, Obama bashed Hillary Clinton for favoring an individual mandate. But once he got in office, Obama’s economic analysts told him the same thing that Mitt Romney had learned: universal care only makes sense when everyone has to pay a fair share.
At the time, Romney and the Republican theorists at the Heritage Foundation touted that idea as basic conservatism: no free ride.
While the 11th Circuit has joined some other federal judges in ruling against the mandate in Obama’s federal plan, this isn’t going to be over until the Supreme Court weighs in, or until Congress changes the law.