One of the few actual domestic policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during their contentious primary involved whether to have a mandate forcing individuals to purchase health care. Obama was strongly opposed, his campaign hammered Clinton on this, and the issue was aired over and over again during their many debates. Yet today, Obama told Diane Sawyer that he’s reversed on the issue because, “People have made some pretty compelling arguments to me that if we want to have a system that drives down costs for everybody, then we’ve got to have healthier people not opt out of the system.” This is ridiculous. He knew all of those arguments during the campaign, Clinton insisted that he’d have to adopt a mandate, and he pushed back forcefully.
Here’s what he had to say during their Austin, Texas debate in February of last year:
SEN. OBAMA: Number one, understand that when Senator Clinton says a mandate, it’s not a mandate on government to provide health insurance; it’s a mandate on individuals to purchase it. And Senator Clinton is right; we have to find out what works.
Now, Massachusetts has a mandate right now. They have exempted 20 percent of the uninsured because they’ve concluded that that 20 percent can’t afford it. In some cases, there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford it, so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine. (Applause.) And in order for you to force people to get health insurance, you’ve got to have a very harsh, stiff penalty. And Senator Clinton has said that we will go after their wages.
Transcript here. Video below.
This is now part of a wider pattern for Obama of blatantly deceiving the American people. Just last week, he told the American Medical Association:
And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.
Of course, in his press conference yesterday he said he didn’t really mean it. There’s no reason to believe anything Obama says, especially when it comes to health care.