Republicans now denouncing their own good idea

You are 28 years old and you are doing pretty well.

So well, in fact, that a new snowmobile has been calling to you from the dealer's showroom. You could squeeze the payments into your budget for the next three years.

Or you could buy health care insurance.

You're never sick, right? And a new sled would be loads of fun. So, it's an easy call.

Until, of course, the day sled and tree meet, putting you in the hospital for a week.  You can't work, you have no insurance and you can't pay the mounting medical bills.

So, you don't.

Who does? The thousands of responsible people who made the sacrifice and paid for health care insurance either on their own or through their jobs.

Not fair, right? Why should they pay for your bad choice?

That's why most Republicans and big business leaders 30 years ago embraced something now called the "individual mandate."

"We called this responsible national health insurance," says Mark Pauly, who developed the idea for George H.W. Bush. "There was kind of an ethical and moral support for the notion that people shouldn't be allowed to free-ride on the charity of fellow citizens."

The individual mandate was even endorsed by health care analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

For 15 years it was part of Republican orthodoxy, in steadfast opposition to Democrats who either wanted a government health care plan or who felt employers should be forced to buy their employees insurance.

In 2006, Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made it a key part of his health care overall, which was praised by Republicans and Democrats alike.

"Remember," Romney wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2006, "someone has to pay for health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay."

In 2008, The Business Roundtable, consisting of the CEOs of America's largest companies, endorsed individual mandate.

Sen. Barack Obama, meanwhile, opposed it as he campaigned in 2008, favoring instead more employer mandates.

In 2009, however the Democratic Congress adopted the Republican idea as part of their sweeping health care overhaul.

It made sense: You can't offer a health care plan that only includes sick people. Everyone needs to participate to hold down costs.

Republicans should have been flattered. They were not.

Republican attorneys general in 17 states filed suits opposing the mandate. Maine's two Republican senators last week filed an amicus brief in support of one case in Florida.

Experts say the suits are unlikely to succeed, pointing out that state government requires people to buy car insurance.

The comparison is imperfect, but the underlying reality is the same. You can't allow people to buy homeowner insurance after their house burns down.

You can't base life insurance around people who only buy it after being diagnosed with a terminal disease.

You can't sell auto insurance policies only to people who have just wrecked their cars.

Allowing people who can afford to buy health insurance choose not to simply makes health insurance more expensive for everyone else.

That is unfair and unsustainable.

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 's picture

ask the people who can't afford health insurance

if they think its a good idea. They are fined if they can't afford insurance. Doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

 's picture


"WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans want the Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll."

 's picture

I like the latest comment a moment ago.

McClatchy one the trouble of reading DNC press releases.

 's picture

gop plan

"In 1993, at the height of President Bill Clinton's health care reform initiative, Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., along with 19 other Republicans and two Democrats, put forth a bill which was considered the major GOP proposal. One of the co-sponsors was then-Sen. Dave Durenberger, R-Minn. The bill, just like the Democratic version, never passed. But in a sense, it's been revived this year.

In fact, the key provisions in the Chafee bill may seem familiar, as they bear a strong resemblance to those in the current Democratic Senate bill, and now in President Barack Obama's proposal. A mandate that individuals buy insurance, subsidies for the poor to buy insurance and the requirement that insurers offer a standard benefits package and refrain from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions were all in the 1993 GOP bill."


The elephant in the room

Your editorial is like a half written story, you've ignored the ending.

The Republican Party is simply following the orders of its patrons to block anything that Obama approves of. It doesn't matter that the idea originated with the REpublicans nor the it was once thought to be a good idea by right wing think tanks - if Obama wants it, it must be blocked.

Rush said that Obama must fail, but he is only one of the more obnoxious flacks used by the billionaires club to return the world to its rightful order - those who have the gold make the rules.

The Tea Partiers, once called Dittoheads, are out in force howling constitutional law. All you have to do is pretend to know what you're talking about and that makes you corrdct.

 's picture

Contitutional Law

Has anyone else realized that those who advocate constitutional law, are actually advocating actions that are in violation of the Constitution?

 's picture


It is sort of when I joked with one of our selectmen about his new modular home being in violation of our Charter because it wasn't facing north. Of course, I was joking, these radical right-wing republicans are serious.

Steve Bulger's picture


"All you have to do is pretend to know what you're talking about and that makes you corrdct." Obviously words of wisdom from one who has personal experience in the subject area.
Incidentally, the REAL Tea Partiers share no common political affiliation (as you so fervently wish to be the case). They are, quite simply, average Americans who became totally dissatisfied with the arrogance exhibited by the congresses and administrations in their unbridled spending, increased taxation, and growth of government by BOTH major political parties.

 's picture

Opening a can of worms....

This only goes to prove that the Republican Party (or as I call them the loose association formerly known as the Republican Party) has no interest in what is best for the nation; they only care about being in charge to assure that they can benefit themselves.

There is no ethics in Washington nor Augusta. The political parties have used the system to limit participation. Both parties are controlled by one or two individuals who have complete control over what happens in our country.

I believe that it is time to oust lobbyists, political parties, and other legalized-organized crime from our government.

 's picture

Algonquin Roundtable

I do enjoy witty banter from time to time, and I do tend to dine at the Fortune Cookie Restaurant on Congress Street every Sunday around 6pm, but they don't have a round table, and I have yet to be joined by anyone else on a regular basis. :)


The problem with Obamacare is

The problem with Obamacare is more wwith the way he, Reid and Pelosi pushed it through Congress promising anything and everything to their Democrat legislators to support it; (remember the 'special" deals for different States.) The problem the Democrats faced was at the end when they lost control of the Senate with Ted Kennedy's replacement being a Republican and they had to beat a hasty retreat to salvage their bill. Unfortunately, we the American taxpaying public are stuck with an imperfect piece of legislation. Many of the ideas in Obamacare are good, but they could have been much better if the Democrats had not flexed theiur muscles so much too prove they were the bigger bully and if the two parties could have worked together and did their job for the benefit of the American citizens.

RONALD RIML's picture

It's so much easier to hit a button than to engage in

Intelligent Discourse.

Kinda like Bert Parks running that Beauty Pageant.........

RONALD RIML's picture

Other's DO pick up the 'Uninsureds' Tab

But that in no way prevents the health care provider from pursuing deadbeats for unpaid bills.

Though you are correct about 'Insurance' being a 'smoke and mirrors' mob-style protection racket.


First of all Auto insurance

First of all Auto insurance is legal and constitutional as your actions have a direct damage to another human being as such your freedom impeds on another directly, Secondly YOU CAN BUY YOUR INSURANCE FROM ANYONE ANYWHERE!!! and thirdly you can decide to park your car and NOT BUY INSURANCE!!! The choice is yours to drive therefore your opinion is one-sided ridderick!!! and secondly homebuyers insurance IS NOT MANDATORY only if you carry a loan on the property and even that is NOT LAWFULLY MANDATED it is a requiremet of the loan and therefore it was YOUR CHOICE TO BUY A HOUSE ON CREDIT !!!! and again YOU CAN BUY YOUR INSURANCE FROM ANYONE ANYWHERE!!!! So again your opinion has no thought put into it only one sided. So now your 18 and you work at mc donalds oh brother looks like your not going to move out on your own cause it will take every living cent you own to pay for your insuance!!! You cant force corrupt healthcare on the people as a cost of simply existing!!!! There is NO CHOICE HERE YOU ARE ALIVE AND YOU HAVE NO CHOICE well look at your constitution carefully they have a word for that and is WHY ALL MEN SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS!!!!!! your editorial really needs to be bright and intelligent instead of narrow-minded !!!!

Mark Elliott's picture

I'd like to add to fixit001

I'd like to add to fixit001 post, that the only car insurance we are required to have is LIABILITY, which protects the other person or property.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

All they have to do is cover

All they have to do is cover ALL Americans under the same cadillac plan that covers the president, the senate and the house of representatives and they'll have no problem getting people to sign on. Penalties won't be required. Their plan's good enough for them; it ought to be good enough for us. After all, THEY work for US, don't they?

 's picture

A better idea...

More tax breaks for the rich while putting that burden on the low and middle income folks like you and me. From what I've read in this forum, that should take care of it.

 's picture


Tax cuts for those who don't need them are the best remedy for any ailment - even the common cold.

RONALD RIML's picture

I agree - but you have to get...

the insurance companies, er, mob, out of the health care system - and replace financing with a 'Single Payer Entity' as proposed by Theodore Roosevelt back in his 1912 run for president.

I'm willing to pay extra taxes to have everyone provided for - but it appears few of my Republican brothers are.

RONALD RIML's picture

And you know the 'Constitution' how, Gilliam???

Let us know your constitutional expertise there, Gilliam. The jurists you have studied under, the papers and briefs which you have written, the institutions of higher learning which you have attended.

Yep - I know - the "Meet me anywhere, anyplace to settle this one out" School of Constitutional Law. That very same law of the jungle which modern governments and constitutions were created to displace.

You attempt to hang your over-sized hat on the 'Constitution' without having the foggiest idea of what it is, what it means, or how it is interpreted and applied belies the same ignorance with which you so cavalierly label folks as 'Racists.'

Now what would President Obama now about the Constritution??? Would the fact that he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago's School of Law for twelve years have any impact upon you? Probably not - as you would have no more idea of the import of such a position as a Neanderthal would understand how assinine it is to mouth "nu-cu-lar" weapons.

"Statement Regarding Barack Obama

The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer."

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined."


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