Newt Gingrich is condemning individual health insurance mandates today, finally ditching the policy after more than a decade of vocal support that he reiterated as recently as Sunday morning.
“I am for the repeal of Obamacare and I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional,” he said in a video posted on his website on Monday and apparently shot this morning outside a Washington, D.C., hotel where Gingrich was addressing an Alzheimer’s convention.In the early 1990s, Gingrich joined many Republican in backing a health care law featuring an individual mandate as an alternative to President Clinton’s proposal. He supported a similar policy throughout the 2000s in several of his books, echoing President Obama and Mitt Romney in backing an individual mandate buttressed by financial support for those who can’t afford health insurance.
He repeated his support for such a plan yet again on Meet The Press this Sunday after David Gregory played a clip of Newt calling for an individual mandate in 1993.
“I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you’re going to be held accountable,” Gingrich said, repeating Romney’s argument that it was necessary to solve the “free rider” problem of how to pay for treating the uninsured. Asked whether this constituted a mandate, Gingrich replied it was “a variation on it.”
According to a campaign e-mail, Gingrich will condemn individual mandates while still insisting that “everyone must take personal responsibility for their own health care costs.” As he alluded to in his comments on NBC, there are some tweaks to the mandate that could achieve similar results with a less ironclad insurance requirement, leaving him at least a bit of technical wiggle room.
Here’s Newt’s repudiation of the mandate:
And here’s him defending the policy on Meet The Press yesterday: