A former Heritage Foundation staffer explains the policy's origin and sheds some light on why the GOP has such problems with the health care issue
In the course of defending the health care bill he passed in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney told Newt Gingrich that he got the idea for the individual mandate -- a rule dictating that everyone must buy health insurance or pay a penalty -- from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C. think tank. Is it really responsible for creating the policy that is now so anathema to conservatives?
James Taranto, an opinion editor at The Wall Street Journal, has some relevant history to share. Before going any farther you should know that he writes his column in the first person plural. "Heritage did put forward the idea of an individual mandate, though it predated HillaryCare by several years," Taranto says. "We know this because we were there: In 1988-90, we were employed at Heritage as a public relations associate (a junior writer and editor), and we wrote at least one press release for a publication touting Heritage's plan for comprehensive legislation to provide universal 'quality, affordable health care.'
As a junior publicist, we weren't being paid for our personal
opinions. But we are now, so you will be the first to know that when we
worked at Heritage, we hated the Heritage plan, especially the