When Republicans abandon the free market and smaller government, the culprits are often the industry lobbyists within the GOP’s inner circles.
Former K Street lobbyist Ed Gillespie, who joined Mitt Romney’s campaign last week as adviser, shows how industry can muddle Republicans’ economic message. Specifically, Gillespie’s and Romney’s closeness with the health insurance industry has weakened the GOP’s ability to attack President Obama’s least popular policy, Obamacare’s individual mandate.
In 2007, Gillespie was the headline Republican for the bipartisan Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform. CAHR advocated “market-based solutions,” but it also held as a core principle that “every American should be required to carry health insurance,” as stated in an op-ed written by CAHR founder Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway.
CAHR was made up of large employers, plus insurers like Aetna, Blue Cross of California, and Cigna, as well as drugmaker Eli Lilly. Of course Aetna and Blue Cross supported the idea of forcing people to buy health insurance. They were paying for CAHR, and CAHR was paying Gillespie.
Gillespie tells me he never advocated a federal individual mandate. Instead, he advocated “a requirement that able-bodied people should have health insurance,” as he put it in a phone conversation Wednesday. Anyone not carrying health insurance would lose half of his personal exemption, under Gillespie’s idea. “It was not a mandate,” Gillespie told me. “It was a way of addressing the free-rider problem” of uninsured people obtaining health care from hospitals, which are required by law to care for all comers regardless of ability to pay.
Read More at The Washington Examiner. By Timothy P. Carney.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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