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‘Obamacare’ Was Originally Proposed By Republicans

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With the Affordable Care Act’s first big test starting Tuesday, and the Republican push to repeal the act due largely to their claims of the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate, it seems appropriate to note the history surrounding the controversial issue. The substantial amount of contrarianism that has occurred in the past two decades is nothing short of astounding.

The fact that the individual mandate has deep Republican roots cannot be denied.The idea of an individual mandate replacing the single-payer health care system was proposed in 1989 by the conservative Heritage Foundation and was published in a paper titled, “A National Health System for America.”

In the paper, the Heritage Foundation’s director of domestic policy strategies, Stuart M. Butler, proposed that “every resident of the U.S. must, by law, be enrolled in an adequate health care plan to cover major health care costs.”

The proposal was backed by a large number of Republican politicians and was strikingly similar to the Affordable Care Act signed by Obama in 2010, which was admittedly influenced by Heritage’s proposal.

Former Republican Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman noted this fact on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday:

It should be noted that President George H.W. Bush supported the individual mandate and even before this, both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan supported various universal health care mandates.

By the time Bill Clinton was preparing his health care reform in 1993, many Republicans who backed the alternative individual mandate approach claimed it was a “personal responsibility” to have health care.

Former Republican Senator John Chafee formally introduced the proposal in a 1993 bill titled, “Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993,” which had 20 Republican co-sponsors and included an individual mandate and vouchers for lower income individuals.

A few Republicans who co-sponsored the 1993 Republican individual mandate bill, but more recently opposed Obama’s Affordable Care Act include: Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, along with former Senators Robert Bennet, Christopher Bond, and Richard Lugar.

And in 1994, another Republican bill, titled the “Consumer Choice Health Security Act of 1994,” initially included an individual mandate.

Republicans who co-sponsored the 1994 bill, but now oppose the Affordable Care Act include: Senators Dan Coats, Charles Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and former Senators Robert Bennett, Judd Gregg, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Richard Lugar.

Senator John McCain once supported the individual mandate as well, when in the early 1990s he made a speech proposing the individual mandate as a counter to the health care reform Bill Clinton was proposing, according to the Miami Herald.

obamacare-cartoon-2-aAnd former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich worked with the Heritage Foundation on the individual mandate before changing his stance on the issue in 2011. Former Governor Mitt Romney also once supported a nationwide individual mandate, and got the idea for his Massachusetts health care reform from Newt Gingrich, but he also changed his stance on the issue during his 2012 presidential run.

But the Republicans are not the only ones to flip on the individual mandate. Even President Obama opposed the idea while he was running for president against Hillary Clinton and up until six months into his first term.

No concerns over the constitutionality of an individual mandate were raised by Republicans, that is, until Democrats began catering the idea. Most Republicans now claim that the idea of requiring every American to buy health insurance is the worst part of the Democratic health care agenda.

While it’s certainly possible for someone to legitimately change their mind on an issue, it also seems likely that the amount of flip-flopping is due to nothing more than political posturing by both sides to gain an edge over the other.

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235 comments
Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson

If  ‘Obamacare’ was originally proposed by Republicans, how did it pass the Congress without a single republican vote?  How could the senate just deem it passed without a vote?  The plan all along was to turn the healthcare system with the best results in the world into something like IHS, VA,  medicaid, and medicare.  Nevermind if it works or not, just gain substantial control of the people's medical.

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

No health care is worth sacrificing our basic "Freedoms" as Americans. This ACA bill has been crammed down our throats and under very dubious circumstances, it was highly opposed yet it was still "Forced" on us. It has a crappy track record which shows "America Does Not" want it or like it. It sucks.   

RickHaines
RickHaines

@TimothyTremblay So was Ike Eisenhowers Interstate Hi Way system.Does it suck? Do you know how mad people were when the Federal Government used imminent Domain to buy up homes farms and great big tracks of land kinda like the Rail Road and then Taxes were levied on Auto licenses and TOLL ROADS were created? Everyone was screamin.But can you imagine a country without these roads now?

DouglasWhite
DouglasWhite

@RickHaines @TimothyTremblay Really Rick? You are comparing the Interstate Highway to ACA? People may have been mad, but they received PAYMENT for imminent domain issuances. You come off as another liberal trying to defend ACA by picking anything a Republican has done. The Interstate Highway Act created the greatest explosion in the middle class than anything previous to it. ACA is written to destroy the middle class. 

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

I am very interested in "Exactly what "Changes" were made to this bill since it's inception. After some investigation It seems it was under a 1,000 page document at inception. How in the hell has it become a 20,000 page debacle since then? Anyone can figure out this has been manipulated for a specific purpose and that purpose is not necessarily good for America. I beg for responses.

RickHaines
RickHaines

The White House should have FACT pages instead of allowing everyone to be at each other over this

Emile MD
Emile MD

We are only about 140 yrs behind Germany in some sort of health care  for the masses; what is the rush? The statement that we have the best health care delivery statement in the world is very true - for a small proportion of the population--- the affluent.

                                       Emile MD

rwscid
rwscid

@Emile MD The United States has the best health care outcomes in the world. Not for every individual, obviously, as sometimes people die, but for the country as a whole we beat every other country as a whole. It is also true that outcomes are better for people who have no insurance at all than for people who are on Medicaid. Not exactly a strong recommendation for more government involvement in health care ....

[Read Scott Atlas if you are interested in the details.]

bill
bill

Everything about Obamacare is Republican

RickHaines
RickHaines

@TimothyTremblay !990 pages is the REAL length. Do you know who wrote the means by which it would be PAID FOR??? John McCain that's who. Look up the facts man. your makin your self seem UNCREDITED!

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

@bill Nope~! It was less than a "One Thousand Page" document when Republican. It became a communistic "Twenty Thousand Page" highly controversial document under this POS POTUS.

Art R
Art R

Impeach Obama.

Mqdean
Mqdean

BTW, the KKK were all Democrats. Just a bit of history.

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

@CharlesTempleWhiteJr @Mqdean Blame Whitey right? The KKK has it's Black Panthers as opposites. The problem is moms and dads are unfit parents and fail to properly "Guide" their children. The liberals want to blame "Conservatives" now for al the problems when "morality" is the main concern with conservatives. A lack of morality is worldwide and by crime rate/statistics we can see where the bulk of it is found.

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@David01234 @CharlesTempleWhiteJr ...LOL.....Racism is the glue that holds the country club and country music RepubliKKKans together. I don't expect any change....especially since Trump hijacked the party. It's not that the GOP can't change......they don't think they need to.....

David01234
David01234

@CharlesTempleWhiteJr @David01234 The Democrats are the party of racism, slavery, KKK, Jim Crow and so on. The fact that they have managed to bamboozle you into thinking they are for minorities is part of the problem. They exploit you for your vote and in return they offer you table scraps to make you think they aren't keeping you down. They give you just enough to survive and that's it. Really, how far has the black community in general come in the last 50 years? There is more racial divide in this country than any other time in my lifetime and you can thank the Democrats for that one. 


There are more and more black people waking up and becoming Republicans. Stop believing all of the propaganda the left spoon feeds you. Most Republicans like me could give two rats ass what color your skin is and instead judge you by your character. And that's how people should be treated.

rwscid
rwscid

The funny thing is Obama had virtually nothing to do with Obamacare. It was written without him, he just signed it. He probably would have signed a Playboy foldout if it came across his desk with the words 'Health Care Reform' written on the Playmate's tush.


Imagine if he had insisted on an intelligent, well-designed bill. Something about five pages long that included the best thinking of our best health care economists, and not one word from the lobbyists. No catering to his Democratic constituencies, no digs at his Republican enemies. Something that could be discussed rationally by everyone in the country with an IQ over 85. 

Too bad he wanted that second term so desperately.

Mqdean
Mqdean

I completely agree! It is a missed opportunity. Unfortunately many have tried for years to get healthcare reform from both sides of the aisle and politics would never let it happen. Maybe it took ramming it through to get something on the table ... the ugly mess that it is. Too bad that thoughtful reasoning could not get past the politics.

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@rwscid ......I get the hate......the logic totally eludes me. Considering Obama unilaterally removing single payer from the discussion, I'd say he damn sure got the bill he wanted. The Playboy reference seems like a little psycho-sexual psychology slipping out.

You really think Obama "catered" to his Dem constituents by pushing the Heritage-Romney healthcare plan? Your language skills would suggest better reasoning skills...At any rate.....WE have the healthcare plan that could get past the Tea Klux Klan.....it sucks.....but that's just who we are anymore....

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

@rwscid this bill was originally under a thousand pages and now it's over 20,000 pages. What does that tell you?

Mqdean
Mqdean

I agree with you straightthinker. The extreme rascist comments by Charles

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

@Mqdean By extreme racist do you mean black panther party or Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan? Which one?

PCFardella
PCFardella

@fathermocker es bueno q la gente se de cuenta de sus errores. Igual las cosas malas del gobierno van a seguir funcionando igual jaja

Ellis Katz
Ellis Katz

The saving of Our Great Nation is that we are a Nation of Laws.  Our laws are made by our elected legislators and cannot be changed unless by repeal or by the judiciary.  We must never forget this. Nor should we ever hold our country hostage to an unrelated issue such as the Budget or to Debt.

straightthinker
straightthinker

True - but irrelevant. I'm a staunch conservative and I love the individual mandate. It is the ONLY part of Obamacare I like. That said, I have no problem fighting any portion of the billin order o try to get this disgusting piece of job-killing, wage-reducing, price-increasing, economy-stifling legislation blown up. And, let's have a few Dems admit this - they have absolutely no concept of what Obamacare entails; all they really care about is free health care for everyone, especially if it comes from "rich" people.

Pelosi wanted to sign the bill and then read it. I bet she and most of the Dems who signed it still haven't read it. Most of the Dems who averead it are scared as hell. Even the Bill's author, Max Baucus, has referred to it as a train wreck.

So, please; stop arguing irrelevant points like this.

straightthinker
straightthinker

Is your definition of a talking point something that's repeated over and over? He many times makes it a talking point? Five? Forty? Three hundred? Are talking points by definition not true? If I say "one plus one is two" enough times, does that make it a talking point (and therefore irrelevant and/or not true)? This whole article is a talking point. Your comment is a common response to someone else's viewpoint. Making an assumption here - but you sound like a solid Dem, most likely a supporter of O'care. Have you read it? The exchanges are on line now - have you looked into it? There are plenty of large employers who have sated they will cancel/diminish health care for their employees. Here are others who are scaling back expansion. Still more are cutting employee's hours.

straightthinker
straightthinker

Didn't finish last comment....Do you have any contradictory evidence (I.e., companies hiring or expanding because of O'care) that you can share with us? If not, I submit that you fall exactly into my statement, that you really don't care how Obamacare works or what it is, only that everyone gets covered for free at the expense of others. (By the way, that viewpoint I don't agree with, but I accept that it is a valid viewpoint.). For you, all that matters is free coverage - economy be damned.

straightthinker
straightthinker

Still waiting for an intelligent statement - not just a comment about who s saying it. ....Still waiting....

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@straightthinker .....We need to kiss more employer ass?

You realize that all your points are being repeated by all the "conservative" faithful......and they all swear they're all true.....Just like they were doing a month ago on NSA, IRS and Benghazi.  

I do vote Dem...but not because I feel represented by them. I vote against the cult insanity popularly known as "conservatism".

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@straightthinker ....LOL......is it straight thinking when you tell me what I believe? I believe "conservatism" is the greatest danger this society faces ......mostly because "conservatives" are too damn arrogant to listen to anyone else....and too damn foolish to realize they're just as error-prone as "the libs" 

The only value I see in Heritage-Romney-Obamacare is that it is a tiny first step towards a civilized, single payer, universal healthcare system. The idea that the health of our society should be seen as a profit opportunity to be protected for the benefit of the small investor class strikes me as stupidly suicidal. The idea that a society can be split into us and them (makers and takers) is incredibly childish and shortsighted. "Free stuff" talking points always seem like the fundamental racism of "conservatism" slipping out.

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@straightthinker.....LOL....typical wingnut arrogance....I'll just take my lack of intelligence and move along...I've never been one for lost causes....

straightthinker
straightthinker

"You realize that all your points are being repeated by all the "conservative" faithful......and they all swear they're all true.....Just like they were doing a month ago on NSA, IRS and Benghazi."

For one, they are true. Just because it all happened a while back doesn't make t untrue. It is a common practice for Obama and his cohorts to delay everything long enough so people like you (and, unfortunately many others) will call it a talking point and diminish its validity. Closure would be good. Obama and Holder could provide closure very easily, but they won't. Instead of truth and their claim of "transparency," they prefer the "fog of he controversy.". Can't get nailed that way.

straightthinker
straightthinker

You should do this. Read this article and go to the study directly. What it shows s that liberals simply do not comprehend conservative views as well as conservatives and moderates understand liberal views. In other words, I understand your points but you don't understand mine. You just hurl charges of "wing nut, whacko, racist," but can't articulate why. That's because you are the one who is close minded, not me. you aren't close minded on purpose, you just don't know better. Try actually understanding a conservative position beer you dismiss it as "wacky."

Here's the link. http://www.american.com/archive/2012/april/liberals-or-conservatives-who2019s-really-close-minded

Mqdean
Mqdean

I agree with you straightthinker, at least your civil comments. The rascist comments by Charles are discouraging in how closed minded people can become. Things will never get better until there is an open dialogue.

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@Mqdean ....In an "open dialogue" I don't get to express myself honestly? 

What are you so afraid of.....?????

Mqdean
Mqdean

The point i was making is this is not a dialogue but a monologue with inflammatory language trying to shut people down so you can stand on a soap box trying to look important. It is a monologue. No thanks.

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@Mqdean ....Now ask yourself why you NEED to characterize me that way. Do you have a problem with people not thinking like you? 

WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?

straightthinker
straightthinker

Oh, you absolutely get to express yourself. No one is denying that. However, I am still waiting for an intelligent statement as opposed to a mere personal accusation.

Why did he characterize you that way? Because that is what you do...you hurl accusations instead of a thought-out intelligent remark.

Funny, but I will probably get another personal attack here instead of something that inspires discussion. I DARE you to attack this subject without personal attacks, using reason and fact. I bet you not only can't do it, but you don't even know what Imam talking about.

Go on...prove me wrong. Write something worth thinking about.

We are waiting...

CharlesTempleWhiteJr
CharlesTempleWhiteJr

@straightthinker ...The subject seems to be me...that's all you're babbling about. Since you don't know a damn thing about me we've reached a dead end. 

TimothyTremblay
TimothyTremblay

@CharlesTempleWhiteJr @straightthinker Conservative means: a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics. The "Change" conservatives are concerned about are those that are "Immoral" in nature. It has nothing to do with race. Do you even know what "Morality" means?