Original 1989 document where Heritage Foundation created Obamacare’s individual mandate

Republicans are on a renewed kick to try to repeal, or at least delay (in the hopes of killing), the “individual mandate” that’s included in the President’s health care reform law, aka the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

The irony, of course, is that it was Republicans, via their premiere think tank, the Heritage Foundation, who came up with the idea in the first place.

As you know, the “individual mandate” requires that every American buy health insurance, if they don’t have it through their work, or pay a penalty.

The individual mandate really is one of the key underpinnings of Obamacare, because without it there’s concern that everyone’s policies might be too expensive.  Here’s more on the mandate from Kaiser Health News:

The health law was designed to extend insurance to nearly all people, including those who have medical conditions that require expensive care and are often denied coverage today. But to pay for their care, insurance companies need to have a large enrollment of consumers, especially young and healthy people who use fewer services. The mandate was adopted to guarantee a broad base.

Topher Spiro, the vice president of health policy at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning nonprofit that supports the law, says it will be more effective with the mandate than without it. “This individual mandate is to keep premiums low for everyone,” he said, noting that “if you don’t have incentives for everyone to sign up for coverage then only the sick people will enroll which will drive up premiums.”

But others suggest the mandate won’t be effective because the penalties are set so much lower than the cost of coverage.

As you also know, the Republicans shut down the entire federal government, and were on the verge of forcing the United States to default on its debt, likely sending the world into a Depression, in order to force the outright repeal of Obamacare, its defunding, or at the very least a delay in the individual mandate.

The funny thing is that it was the Republicans who came up with the idea in the first, as first described by Stuart Butler in a publication for the very conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989.  And what group took the lead in pushing for the federal government shutdown in order to stop Obamacare?  The Heritage Foundation’s political arm, Heritage Action.

Here’s the cover of Heritage’s 1989 publication:

heritage-foundation-invidual-mandate-2

And in a section called “The Heritage Plan,” Butler sets the premise for a form of guaranteed universal health care that would be anathema to the far-right Tea Party that controls the Republican party today:

the-heritage-plan

A few pages down into the “Heritage Plan,” Butler proposes the individual mandate:

heritage-foundation-invidual-mandateSo, the next time you hear a Republican talk about how the individual mandate simply must be stopped, or at least delayed.  Ask them why they’re so opposed to a plan that they came up with in the first place?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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