Gingrich: ‘I oppose the Obamacare mandate. Period.’

by Daniel Foster

A statement just out on Newt.org:

Newt: 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.

To reiterate, here’s what he said on Meet the Press 24 hours ago:

DAVID GREGORY: Now I know you’ve got big differences with what you call Obamacare, but back in 1993 on this program this is what you said about the individual mandate. Watch.

GINGRICH ON VIDEO [1993]: “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we ensure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.” . . .

DAVID GREGORY: You agree with Mitt Romney on this point?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay — help pay for health care. And, and I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond. . . .

DAVID GREGORY: But that is the individual mandate, is it not?

NEWT GINGRICH: It’s a variation on it.

So it sounds as if he opposes one species of mandate, but supports the genus.

Gingrich’s press shop has also walked back some of the criticism leveled at Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan. Spokesman Rick Tyler told The Weekly Standard that, despite Gingrich’s suggestion that the Ryan plan was “radical” and amounted to “social engineering”, there is in fact “little daylight between Ryan and Gingrich.”

. . . “But look how it gets reported. Newt would fully support Ryan if it were not compulsory. We need to design a better system that people will voluntarily move to. That is a major difference in design but not substance.”

But if there’s “little daylight” between the two, why did Gingrich call Ryan’s plan “radical” and “social engineering”? 

“Radical means that politically you can’t get to what Ryan wants from where we are,” wrote Tyler. “It will be demagogued to death. Right wing social engineer refers simply to compelling people to participate without giving them a choice. That is a political mistake.”

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