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Flip-Flopping on the Individual Mandate

You've seen a lot of conservatives attacking an individual mandate in health care. The attacks make sense: The mandate is unpopular. But the mandate originally came to prominence in the moderate Republican proposals offered in 1994 (Democrats wanted an employer mandate), hit the big time when Mitt Romney signed one into law in Massachusetts, and attracted a lot of Republican support earlier this year. The group Progressive Media pulled together a video of some of those endorsements.

That said, there's always time to welcome sinners back into the fold. After all, Barack Obama prominently opposed the mandate during the 2008 primaries. But when the campaign ended and he began looking to make health-care reform work, he reversed course. Maybe some Republicans will follow his example.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 7, 2009; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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"But when the campaign ended" indeed...

Posted by: luko | October 7, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Anyone seen how damning the quotes are from Obama during the primaries attacking an individual mandate? I think its absolutely certain that the attack ads will come out with Obama saying how unfair individual mandates are and why they are a bad idea- I just don't know how good the soundbytes will be.

Posted by: spotatl | October 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Mandates are great if Congress can guarantee affordability in a public option that charges Medicare rates + X%. Otherwise, they are huge boondoggles for the worst actor in our current health system, insurance companies.

Posted by: jamusco | October 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama blew this one big time.

Posted by: obrier2 | October 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

As has been written here before, the story of the mandate is really the story of not allowing insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Without a mandate, people would just wait until they were sick to sign up. Can't take care of the pre-existing condition problem without a mandate.

Posted by: etdean1 | October 7, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The mandate is only fair if the product is quality, affordable health care. This bill takes our money an then doesn't deliver. Why people are are calling that "half a loaf" I have no idea...

Posted by: bmull | October 7, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse


WE AGREE!!! The individual mandate is tied to an end to pre-ex. if you stopped that or even capped the expense you'd see insurers railing against this big time.

THe mandate is an absolute must (along with a true employer mandate requiring them to cover say 70% of employee cost) to keep it affordable for employees.

That said the watering down of the penalty will absolutely let people off the hook and the more you lower the tax on it the more people will opt out and forgo coverage until they absolutely require it. I'd much rather see subsidies increased to make it more affordable. I'd rather pay a bit more in taxes and know we had 97% covered than same taxes with 88% covered.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 8, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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