Newt Gingrich has taken a strong stance against the individual mandate since he launched his campaign, but, as he’s admitted, he previously supported the mandate during his fight against Hillarycare in the 90’s. And now it turns out that Gingrich may have been promoting the individual mandate much more recently than he acknowledged, according to a New York Times report.
First, here are Gingrich’s remarks on the individual mandate at a Republican debate in New Hampshire in June:
“I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and half years at the Center for Health Transformation. You can see all the things we did to stop it at HealthTransformation.net. 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 claimed to have been fighting against the individual mandate for two and a half years. But the Times reports that Gingrich pushed health care executives to support the mandate just two years earlier, on a conference call in May 2009:
More broadly, [Gingrich] has indicated his agreement with the most controversial aspect of President Obama’s heath care plan, the requirement that every American buy health insurance. Although he now says he is opposed to the so-called individual mandate, in a May 2009 conference call — previously unreported — he told health care executives, “We believe there should be must-carry; that is, everybody should have health insurance, or if you’re an absolute libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond.”
This was well after Hillarycare, and well within the “two and a half years” Gingrich claims he spent fighting against the individual mandate. Why doesn’t his timeline add up? More importantly, what happened between then and now that changed Gingrich’s mind and acknowledge the individual mandate is unconstitutional? Was it simply the fact that it’s become incredibly unpopular with the public? Or did Gingrich honestly have a change of heart?