In an article in the Miami Herald on Wednesday, it was reported former Bush Administration Health & Human Services Secretary (and rumored U.S. Senate candidate) Tommy Thompson has expressed support the individual health insurance mandate that Republicans across the nation – including Republicans in Wisconsin – are now targeting in an attempt to repeal the historic health insurance reform passed into law by Democrats and signed by President Obama. According to the report in the Herald, the concept of the “individual mandate” was proposed in a Miami speech in the early 1990s by none other than Sen. John McCain, a conservative Republican from Arizona, to counter the “Hillarycare” the Clintons were proposing.
“Seeking to deradicalize the idea during a symposium in Orlando in September 2008, Thompson said, “Just like people are required to have car insurance, they could be required to have health insurance.”
However, while Tommy Thompson circa 2008 supported the individual health insurance mandate, the 2010 version of Tommy Thompson – or “Teabaggin’ Tommy” as I refer to him, now that he’s contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate here in Wisconsin and needs to burnish his conservative credentials – is opposed to the Democratic health insurance reform package, saying in a statement on the New York Times’ web site:
“…this legislation has the potential to change the current social services fabric because the health insurance transformation that will pass will be the beginning of a government-controlled health care system,”
Call me a cynic, but I can’t help but wonder if Thompson’s rumored U.S. Senate run, combined with his yeoman’s work as a lobbyist for a multitude of companies, including no doubt several companies associated with the health insurance and health care industries, has something to do with his recent change of heart on health insurance reform, especially the individual health insurance mandate.
Jason Haas has his own take on this story.