Obamacare Was Concocted by Conservatives?

by Vince

Robert Field explains:

The individual mandate was the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative think tanks in the country. They saw it as part of the salvation of free market health care.

You’d hardly know it today from the Foundation’s website. A recent visit to the homepage found news on the fight against Obamacare, with links to a page condemning health reform for its “mandates and federal control.” But do some searching on the site, and you’ll discover where the mandate idea actually came from.

Or, you can follow this direct link to Heritage’s 1990 policy report, which explains why an individual mandate should be part of a free market approach to health reform. (The report can also be accessedhere in html format.)

Here is some of what it says. “Under the Heritage proposal, it would be illegal not to buy basic catastrophic insurance…” When you file your tax return, “If the proof of insurance forms were not attached, or did not indicate that the family was insured throughout the year, a financial penalty would be imposed.” (See page 13 of the report.)

The mandate served the same purpose in Heritagecare in 1990 as it does in Obamacare today. Private insurance markets don’t work if the risk pool is too small. When too many healthy people opt out of coverage, insurance becomes unaffordable for everyone else because it is impossible to spread the cost. Then, the only alternative is a government plan.

The mandate-based approach was so appealing to free market supporters in the 1990s that the Republicans proposed it as a law in 1993. Bob Dole, the Senate minority leader at the time, served as co-sponsor.

This brings both sides a bit closer to a medium and depolarizes the field. Both sides, after all, have a bit of a desire to reach a utopia after all.

(thanks alot Charles!)

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