March 27, 2012
PETER SUDERMAN: Yes, ObamaCare’s Mandate Compels People to Buy Health Insurance.
At minimum, however, it is fairly clear that this is not how President Obama, who signed the law and fought for its passage, claimed to understand the mandate when he opposed it on the campaign trail in 2008. Instead, he understood it as a policy that forced people to buy a product. Indeed, that’s part of why he said he opposed it.
Criticizing Hillary Clinton for her support of the mandate, Obama said that “she believes we have to force people who don’t have health insurance to buy it.” At another debate, candidate Obama stressed the importance of understanding what it means to mandate health insurance: “A mandate means that in some fashion everybody will be forced to buy health insurance.” The government, in other words, would be asking people to buy something they otherwise would not buy.
The mandate does not merely regulate commerce—it requires it. In 2008, President Obama understood this distinction. In 2012, his administration is pretending the distinction does not exist.
And counting on the press not to note the contradiction. But here’s a video: