Note: I wanted to draw extra attention to the name on the byline since John does by far the majority of the blogging here. The opinions expressed below are my own, and as always I welcome John’s feedback, as well as that of our readers.
This is a clip I extracted from a conference call Newt Gingrich conducted in May 2009 while representing the Center for Health Transformation, an organization Gingrich founded in 2003.
The full audio of this presentation is a little difficult to obtain, but can be accessed indirectly here.
In Gingrich’s defense, May 2009 was relatively early on in the legislative process for ObamaCare and I suppose he was not the only prominent Republican still willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt that he intended to lead an open, bipartisan process. Yet I cannot let this go without pointing out that just weeks earlier, on this very blog, we uncovered and posted a video of Representative Jan Schakowsky which clearly demonstratedthat the Democratic leadership had less than honorable intentions, to say the least. And Krauthammer wrote about this before I did, in the Washington Post in February 2009. Gingrich has a long history of opposing attempts by Democrats to move the nation towards a single-payer system, and I’m a little surprised frankly that he seemed unaware of the scheme that Democrats were hatching.
But the real news here I think is that this clip really should dispel once and for all any questions over Gingrich’s support for a national health insurance mandate. Somewhat strangely he’s never really denied supporting the mandate, and in fact as late as May of last year reiterated essentially the same position on Meet the Press. Yet throughout the campaign he has said repeatedly that it is “clearly unconstitutional”, and more recently claimedabsurdly that he has only ever supported state level mandates.
Well, here you have it: not only has Gingrich been a long-standing proponent of a federal health insurance mandate, he clearly and unequivocally called for it as part of the White House health reform initiative in May 2009. Mission accomplished then.
There is something else worth noting in this clip. Not only did Gingrich make the “conservative” argument for the mandate in dealing with the free rider problem, he also advanced a favorite argument of the left. Which is that the only way insurers could be required to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their health status (“must issue”), was to require everyone to carry insurance. This was ultimately the argument which convinced none other than Barack Obama, who remember, opposed an individual mandate during the Democrat primary campaign in 2008.
Romney is arguably even more compromised on ObamaCare than Gingrich, but it’s a much closer call in my opinion than some seem to believe. Call me an Alinskyite, but it seemed like Republican voters should probably know about this before the general election.
Update: It looks like the entire presentation can be viewed at this link. I had to jump through a few hoops to get to this page, but it seems that it also works directly without having to register, etc.