Healthcare & You: Who came up with ‘individual mandate’? ON THIS IMAGE to jump to the Procon site that contains a detailed history of individual mandate proposals. Want even more background? Click on the Heritage Lectures icon on that page and you can download a full copy of the original conservative proposal.On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded three days of hearings on the Affordable Care Act—breaking news that we have been covering all week here at OurValues. On Wednesday, severability was the topic: If the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional, can the rest of the law remain or must the whole thing go? Conservative justices seem to argue that, if the mandate goes, the whole law must go.

Everything turns on the decision of the individual mandate. Conservatives oppose the mandate and liberals love it—which would lead one to conclude that it was always a liberal idea. But was it?

The origin of the idea was a conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, according to Procon is a nonpartisan nonprofit public charity that provides resources for critical thinking and education. The early legislative proponents of the individual mandate were Republicans, who introduced more than one bill that contained it.

Most Democrats originally opposed the idea of the individual mandate. The most famous opponent was Obama: During his run for the presidency, he declared his opposition to the individual mandate. Now it’s the cornerstone of the new law.

Obama isn’t the only politician whose mind changed. Procon points out that many of the prominent Republicans who now oppose “Obamacare” actually supported the individual mandate when it was a “conservative” idea. These include Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Robert Bennett and Christopher Bond. The most famous Republican who now opposes the individual mandate is Obama’s likely opponent, Mitt Romney.

Politics aside, tell us what you think …

Is the individual mandate inherently a conservative or a liberal idea?

Should the mandate be scrapped?

Should other elements of the law be preserved?

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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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