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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

FAQ: How Will The Individual Mandate Work?

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Q. Where did the idea of the mandate originate?

A. The origins of the individual mandate have been controversial. Many Democrats who support the law suggest it was originally a conservative idea developed in 1989 by the Heritage Foundation's Stuart Butler to counter liberals' efforts to establish a single payer system and impose a mandate on employers to provide insurance. Several years afterward, Republicans used the individual mandate in a bill they offered as an alternative to Bill Clinton's proposal to overhaul health insurance. The mandate also was incorporated as part of the Massachusetts overhaul of health insurance in 2006 under then-Gov. Mitt Romney.

Democrats later adapted the concept and pushed it as part of the congressional debate over the Affordable Care Act, despite President Barack Obama's initial reluctance to embrace it. Whatever their prior views, most conservatives opposed the health law's version of the mandate, and Butler made a spirited argument that the current mandate is not what he was endorsing years ago.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Fri, Aug 30 2013

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