Remember when Republicans supported the individual mandate?

I read with interest columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s commentary regarding the recent Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Constitutional — but contemptible," July 9).

I am still confused — indeed baffled — why the Republican Party proposed an individual mandate in 1993 as part of their response to the Clinton administration's health care proposal yet now consider it to be an assault on freedom.

Several GOP senators who supported this bill are still in the Senate, including Sen. Orrin Hatch. Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Crapo are both from states whose attorneys general opposed the individual mandate as unconstitutional. This should be a Republican initiative.

The tea party member who wrote The Sun to relate how he was able to start his own business only by forgoing health insurance illustrates this. If he were to be hit by a drunk driver, spend six months in an advanced care facility like Maryland's Shock Trauma Center and run up a bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, he is unlikely to be able to pay it.

The cost would be borne by the taxpayers and people like me who buy private insurance. Is this not as much a free ride on someone else's dime as food stamps and farm subsidies?

Mitt Romney, quoted in The Wall Street Journal in June, said "either the individual pays or the taxpayer pays. A free ride on government is not libertarian. ... An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law that is impossible and inhumane."

Why is this simple logic now an anathema to Republicans who so wholeheartedly embraced it?

Dr. Richard T. Scholz

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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