February 9, 2012

WELL, WE ALL KNOW UNCLE MILTY WAS A CRYPTO-SOCIALIST ANYWAY...:

Heritage Rewrites History: The think tank proposed the individual mandate years before Clinton took office. (JAMES TARANTO, 2/08/12, WSJ)

In an October column, we recounted the origins of the ObamaCare individual mandate at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In a USA Today op-ed earlier this week, Heritage's Stuart Butler offers his own account. But crucial elements of it are at variance with the facts. Here is the key paragraph:

The confusion arises from the fact that 20 years ago, I held the view that as a technical matter, some form of requirement to purchase insurance was needed in a near-universal insurance market to avoid massive instability through "adverse selection" (insurers avoiding bad risks and healthy people declining coverage). At that time, President Clinton was proposing a universal health care plan, and Heritage and I devised a viable alternative. [...]

[Butler]  first proposed the individual mandate almost 23 years ago, in a 1989 "Critical Issues" monograph titled "A National Health System for America." (The Heritage website lists the publication date as Jan. 2, 1989, but it was actually June 1 of that year, according to a contemporaneous Washington Post story.)

For most purposes, "20 years ago" is a close enough approximation for 23. In this case, however, it gives the lie to Butler's claim that Heritage first embraced the individual mandate as an "alternative" to President Clinton's "universal health care plan." Bill Clinton became president more than 3½ years after the monograph's publication.

Butler also writes: "My idea was hardly new. Heritage did not invent the individual mandate." He offers only one item of evidence for this assertion: "Even libertarian-conservative icon Milton Friedman, in a 1991 Wall Street Journal article, advocated replacing Medicare and Medicaid 'with a requirement that every U.S. family unit have a major medical insurance policy.' "

That Friedman piece ran in the Journal Nov. 12, 1991--more than 20 years ago, but 29 months after Heritage published the monograph.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted by at February 9, 2012 7:01 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« IT'S JUST ABOUT WHICH PARTY GETS CREDIT FOR THE PEACE DIVIDEND: | Main | THE TARGET SHOULD BE THE % OF GDP WE SPENT BETWEEN WWI & WWII: »