One would think that the Affordable Care Act mandate would be a win-win for both parties. After all, it was their concept and championed by the Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies.” Our two parties are of one mind.
In 1993, Republicans twice introduced health care bills that contained an individual health insurance mandate. Advocates for those bills included prominent Republicans who today oppose the mandate including, Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Robert Bennett, and Christopher Bond. In 2007, Democrats and Republicans introduced a bi-partisan bill containing the mandate. Our two parties were still of one mind.
In fact on April 12, 2006, as then-governor Mitt Romney signed the Massachusetts health reform law, commonly called “Romneycare,” which requires Massachusetts residents to buy health insurance coverage or face escalating tax penalties, it was lauded by Republicans and Democrats alike. Unity at last? Not so fast. Enter President Barack Obama.
Obama, in fashioning his Affordable Health Care, used as a template the health care plan instituted in Massachusetts by Romney and which had been so positively acclaimed by both parties. One could safely say that Obamacare is Romneycare.
It appears that amnesia has set in. It is so sad to see such blatant hypocrisy and destructive partisanship, even if it means voting against your own ideas. Rather, Republicans could proudly say, “See, we were so far ahead of the curve that Obama was forced to adopt our position.”