Skip to main content

As I reported in July, the Heritage Foundation has been bellowing against the Affordable Care Act despite the fact that the critical elements (individual mandate, community rating, and subsidies so everyone can afford insurance) were first proposed by -- the Heritage Foundation!

In USA Today (via Don Taylor) Stuart Butler, author of the Heritage lecture linked above, says "Don't Blame Heritage for ObamaCare Mandate." He writes:

The confusion arises from the fact that 20 years ago, I held the view that as a technical matter, some form of requirement to purchase insurance was needed in a near-universal insurance market to avoid massive instability through "adverse selection" (insurers avoiding bad risks and healthy people declining coverage). At that time, President Clinton was proposing a universal health care plan, and Heritage and I devised a viable alternative.

My view was shared at the time by many conservative experts, including American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholars, as well as most non-conservative analysts. Even libertarian-conservative icon Milton Friedman, in a 1991 Wall Street Journal article, advocated replacing Medicare and Medicaid "with a requirement that every U.S. family unit have a major medical insurance policy."

My idea was hardly new. Heritage did not invent the individual mandate.

What this self-serving narrative omits, as Taylor points out, is any mention of Butler's original proposal, linked above, from October 1989. This is more than three years prior to the Clinton health care legislation he claimed to be opposing. Butler's entire article puts his support of the mandate in "the 1990s," despite the fact that he had to have been conducting research on it prior to lecturing on it in 1989. Indeed, he cites no publication prior to his own where an individual mandate was proposed. That doesn't mean one isn't out there, but he gives us no reason to think there is.

He continues:

Additionally, the meaning of the individual mandate we are said to have "invented" has changed over time. Today it means the government makes people buy comprehensive benefits for their own good, rather than our original emphasis on protecting society from the heavy medical costs of free riders.
This is a very strained distinction. I'm not aware of the President or any other supporter of the mandate (I myself would prefer single payer) claiming people are to be forced to buy insurance "for their own good." Just as with Governor Romney's health care reform in Massachusetts, the idea behind the individual mandate remains preventing free riders from not getting insurance until they are sick. That is crucial in making it possible to require insurance companies to insure anyone regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Taylor's colleague at The Incidental Economist, Aaron Carroll, is even more skeptical than Taylor. Carroll argues that nothing in Butler's article supports the view that the mandate in unconstitutional, least of all the claim that the mandate is "for their own good." He also rejects Butler's claim that the Heritage mandate used carrots while the ACA's uses sticks as "just semantics." Whether you raise taxes and give a credit to those who buy insurance, or don't raise taxes and penalize those who don't buy insurance, the bottom line, Carroll points out, is the same.

While I guess it is in some way intellectually appealing to see Butler try to explicitly defend his changed position, the fact of the matter is that his defense is entirely bogus. You don't craft a policy in 1989 to defend against a proposal in 1993 by a President who hasn't been elected yet. No, the truth of the matter is that the individual mandate was the conservative approach to expanding health care access right up until the time President Obama advanced it as his own. Then it became both bad policy and unconstitutional, to boot.

And at night all cats are gray.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Bachmann, Mitt, and Newt all agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, raincrow

    ROMNEY: “Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.”

    GINGRICH: “That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

    ROMNEY: “Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.”

    GINGRICH: “Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

    ROMNEY: “And you never supported them?”

    GINGRICH: “I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.”

    ROMNEY: “OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?”

    GINGRICH: “I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.”

    ROMNEY: “Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.”

    http://www.michelebachmann.com/...

    •  sounds like venereal disease. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow

      ROMNEY: “Actually, Newt, we got gonorrhea from you.”

      GINGRICH: “That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

      ROMNEY: “Yes, we got a dose of the clap from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation...”

      GINGRICH: “Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get VD from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.”

      ROMNEY: “And you never supported them?”

      GINGRICH: “I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.”

      ROMNEY: “OK. Let me ask, have you had any sexually-transmitted disease in the past?”

      GINGRICH: “I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation...”

      ROMNEY: “Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the clap from you and the Heritage Foundation.”

      Guys, stop arguing about who infected who. Get to the clinic and remember to take your prescription exactly as the doctor tells you.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 06:55:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poor Stuart, desperately seeking laser surgery (0+ / 0-)

    to remove that old Mandate tattoo. Bwaaaaaaa ha haha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site