Mitt Romney supported the Individual Mandate for Romneycare

There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Reddit, where they’re discussing a WSJ Article entitled Romney Emails on Massachusetts Health-Care Law. The folks on Reddit spend some time discussion whether the emails were obtained by “hacking” - it doesn’t look that way - but there is also some fairly good political discussion.

I find the emails interesting because they clearly show that Romney wanted his plan to include an individual mandate. Look at point #3 on page 3, Staff discussion of “confidential” proposal by Senate president, mentioning ‘individual mandate’, where the WSJ comments:

In Massachusetts, Mr. Romney didn’t include an individual mandate in his original proposal, but soon adopted the idea. His aides later came to champion it, even amid uncertainty from some Democrats. At the time, the mandate was a favored policy of the right, with the left pushing for government insurance programs. In these emails, aides discuss a confidential proposal by then-State Senate President Robert Travaglini that didn’t mention an individual mandate.

Did you read that? The individual mandate was a favored policy of the right. So Obama agree to it for his healthcare reform and go it. Guess what our so-called “conservatives” think of it now. Point #3 shows what they “thought” in 2006:

Page 3
Page 3

Look at the first draft of Romney’s op-ed piece starting on page 31. The WSJ says

This first draft, written by Mr. Romney on a Saturday, included much language that was different from the final piece. Mr. Romney defended the individual mandate, using an argument now deployed by the Obama administration: that taxpayers foot the bill when the uninsured seek care.

First draft p 1
First draft p 2
First draft p 3
First draft p 4

I especially love the 4th draft from April 10, 2006

…40% of our uninsured were earning enough to buy insurance but had simply chosen not to do so; Why? Because it is expensive and because they know that if they become seriously ill, they will get free or subsidized treatment at the hospital. By law, emergency care cannot be withheld. Why pay for something you can get for free?

I especially love the final draft - I don’t know if it’s the same as the one published, which is behind a paywall - because I like what Mitt Romney has to say.

Of course, while it may be free for them, everyone else ends up paying the bill, either in higher insurance premiums or taxes. Our answer for these people was to make private health insurance much more affordable. Our insurance reforms permit higher deductibles, higher co-pays, co-insurance, provider networks, and fewer mandated benefits like in vitro fertilization. Our insurers have committed to offer products nearly 50% less expensive. With private insurance finally affordable, I proposed that everyone must either purchase a product of their choice or demonstrate that they can pay for their own healthcare. It’s a personal responsibility principle.

Some of my libertarian friends balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the healthcare that must, by law, be provided: either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free-ride on govemment is not libertarian.

Read for yourself:

Forth draft p 1
Forth draft p 2
Forth draft p 3
Forth draft p 4
Forth draft p 5