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John Warner Co-Sponsored 1993 GOP Health Care Bill with Individual Mandate

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Check out the co-sponsors of the GOP “Health Equity and Access Reform Today Act of 1993” (the main sponsor was Republican John Chafee of Rhode Island):

Sen Bennett, Robert F. [UT] – 11/22/1993

Sen Bond, Christopher S. [MO] – 11/22/1993

Sen Boren, David L. [OK] – 5/17/1994

Sen Cohen, William S. [ME] – 11/22/1993

Sen Danforth, John C. [MO] – 11/22/1993

Sen Dole, Robert J. [KS] – 11/22/1993

Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM] – 11/22/1993

Sen Durenberger, Dave [MN] – 11/22/1993

Sen Faircloth, Lauch [NC] – 11/22/1993

Sen Gorton, Slade [WA] – 11/22/1993

Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 11/22/1993

Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 11/22/1993

Sen Hatfield, Mark O. [OR] – 11/22/1993

Sen Kassebaum, Nancy Landon [KS] – 11/22/1993

Sen Kerrey, J. Robert [NE] – 5/17/1994

Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] – 11/22/1993

Sen Simpson, Alan K. [WY] – 11/22/1993

Sen Specter, Arlen [PA] – 11/22/1993

Sen Stevens, Ted [AK] – 11/22/1993

Sen Warner, John [VA] – 11/22/1993

Notice the last name on the list? That’s right, beloved former U.S. Senator John Warner (R) of Virginia. Today, he’d be run out of the radical right-wing Republican Party on a rail as a “RINO,” faster than you could say “Obamacare.” Notice the other names on the list? That’s right, nearly all Republicans, including 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, as well as arch-conservatives like Orrin Hatch and Lauch Faircloth.

Now check out this section of the legislation, the part calling for an “individual mandate”:

SEC. 1501. REQUIREMENT OF COVERAGE.

(a) IN GENERAL- Effective January 1, 2005, each individual who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States shall be covered under–

(1) a qualified health plan, or

(2) an equivalent health care program (as defined in section 1601(7)).

(b) EXCEPTION- Subsection (a) shall not apply in the case of an individual who is opposed for religious reasons to health plan coverage, including an individual who declines health plan coverage due to a reliance on healing using spiritual means through prayer alone.

Guess who else supported the individual mandate. That’s right, President George HW Bush. Also, 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, ‘to counter the “Hillarycare’ the Clintons were proposing.” Also, George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.  Also, Mitt Romney. Also, the Heritage Foundation. Also…we could go on all night. In fact, as this article explains, “the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea…invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time.” So, today, when Republicans rail against the “individual mandate,” just remember that this was their idea in the first place.

P.S. Another irony here is that, during the 2008 Democratic primaries, Barack Obama attacked Hillary Clinton for a health care plan that…wait for it…”forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.” Ah, politics…gotta love it. Or not!

  • is a huge reminder of just how far to the right the current Republican party has turned.