GOP still targeting health care mandate

GOP STILL TARGETING HEALTH CARE MANDATE…. House Republicans are still playing games with motions to recommit — a scheme intended to force floor delays by pushing votes intended to put Democrats in awkward positions. Yesterday afternoon offered the latest example.

House Republicans will look to force a vote this afternoon to repeal the individual mandate provisions within Democrats’ healthcare bill.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, will offer a motion to recommit on a small business tax cut bill this afternoon that would look to strike the provision from Democrats’ healthcare reform law.

The vote comes as part of the GOP’s “America Speaking Out” initiative, one of House Republicans’ programs seeking online engagement with constituents.

If the ploy was intended to put House Dems on the defensive, it failed badly. The final vote was 187 to 230 to reject the GOP motion, with 21 Blue Dogs (who opposed health care reform anyway) voting with Republicans, and Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) voting with Dems.

Nevertheless, the fact that House Republicans pushed this at all is a reminder that the caucus continues to see the individual health care mandate as the most problematic and controversial provision in the Affordable Care Act. For right-wing activists, it represents an unprecedented assault on liberty. For right-wing grandstanders, it represents the basis for litigation. The whole idea is supposed to be so red-hot that it forces Dems to run in the other direction.

But as long as the GOP keeps pushing this, I’m inclined to remind them that the individual health care mandate is a Republican idea. It was always a Republican idea, ever since it started gaining traction in GOP circles in the 1970s.

Indeed, this isn’t an idea Republicans were willing to tolerate in years past as part of negotiations with Democrats, but rather, this was an idea Republicans came up with.

The roster is pretty long of prominent Republicans who’ve either endorsed the individual mandate, voted for a plan with an individual mandate, co-sponsored legislation with an individual mandate, or all of the above. It includes George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, John McCain, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Judd Gregg, among others.

All of them have supported an individual mandate — a provision that Republicans now believe to be an unconstitutional freedom-killer that must be eliminated for the sake of American liberty.

As the GOP continues to hyperventilate over the mandate, keep this relevant detail in mind.