I’m curious to hear from the Newt-supporters on this one.
Ace’s post today reminded me of something I’d mentioned a while back in this comment of mine: that Gingrich is on record as supporting an individual mandate or the posting of a bond for health insurance—at the federal level. Not only that, but he said so as recently as May of 2011.
We all know, of course, that so-called Romneycare involved an individual mandate on the state level, and that it was passed in 2006 when Romney was governor of Massachusetts. Romney has also said that he is against such a mandate at the federal level, and that each state should be allowed to decide for itself.
But did you also know this?:
Romney…hated the employer mandate and vetoed the provision that employers of 11 or more offer coverage or face a penalty of $295 per employee. This veto, and seven others aimed at less controversial aspects of the law, were easily overridden by the Democratic Legislature.
Romney considers the Massachusetts plan needlessly gold-plated; he would have pushed for a much cheaper version that allowed minimal coverage options.
He believes the Massachusetts health connector, the insurance exchange which the Obama plan would emulate, has created an excessive regulatory burden, imposing too many requirements on what commercial insurers must offer for a policy to qualify as “minimum creditable coverage’’ under the law. His proposal, to require only a bare-bones policy that covered hospitalization and catastrophic illness, was rejected by the Legislature…
Romney also wanted a way for those of means to opt out of the mandate by posting a bond — essentially a promise to pay for future uninsured health care costs. Critics called it a “fig leaf’’ and Romney concedes that few would have taken advantage — just as only a handful choose a similar option to post a $10,000 bond rather than buy compulsory auto insurance in Massachusetts.
But the principle mattered to him, and the failure of the Legislature to agree still rankles…
That appeared in the Boston Globe in June of 2011.
I point it out not necessarily because I think it will change your mind (I don’t), but because it illustrates how much confusion and misinformation gets stirred up during the fog of campaigns. Nothing is quite what we think it is, is it? Is Romneycare really something Romney designed (and yes, I know he defends it for Massachusetts), and what would Gingrich have done were he somehow to find himself in a similar position? And does this at all change your notion of how conservative Romney “really” is?
[ADDENDUM: I left out some relevant parts of that Romney quote from the Globe. Here's the rest:
And as for those on the economic margin, Romney thought that no one, however poor, should get insurance for no cost at all. He advocated a small premium, even a few dollars a month, for the neediest, but the Legislature balked.
Today, under the Commonwealth Care program, about half of the 160,000 receiving subsidized coverage pay no premium because their incomes fall below certain federal poverty level guidelines.
“When you give something away that is entirely free, people don’t value it as much as they should,’’ Romney said.]