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Why Republicans Oppose the Individual Health-Care Mandate

Stashed in: Politics!, Influence!, New Yorker

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Republicans favored the individual mandate for decades over single-payer health care. Why did they change their minds?

I like the definition of motivated reasoning:

Once group loyalties are engaged, you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments. Thinking is mostly just rationalization, mostly just a search for supporting evidence.

The shift -- "Democrats lining up behind the Republican-crafted mandate, and Republicans declaring it not just inappropriate policy but contrary to the wishes of the Founders" -- is not an isolated case.

This actually seems to be a regular occurrence now in Washington.

Seems like the political benefits of bipartisanship have decreased markedly, and the political costs have increased markedly. One of the things the article mentions in passing is the retirement of moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe. The "winners" of the game used to be those politicians who compromised as little as possible but as much as necessary to hammer out a workable solution. Now the "winners" seem to be those who abandon their positions for more extreme ones as soon as they sucker the opposition into adopting the initial position -- despite the fact that this strategy will prevent all workable solutions to a given problem. It's fascinating, in a sick way.

What is sad here, is our political discourse has degraded to such a degree that it is now completely impossible to discern between truly philosophical policy objections and cynical contrariness, for both types of motivations are disseminated via the same channels.

Cap-and-Trade is a better example of this than even the Individual Mandate. In the era of Bush I, Conservatives were promoting cap and trade, while environmental groups viciously purged anyone who dared to consider the idea. Today, the roles are perfectly reversed, with the same groups on both sides making the virtually identically opposite arguments from the ones they made 20+ years ago, for the virtually identical proposal.

The individual mandate is murkier, considering there is a very legitimate objection to the concept that the 'state' can force me to buy something. Of course, to the point, I cannot tell whether the GOP's objection to it is truly philosophical, or just plain cynical.

It does not seem to be a philosophical thing or they'd stop forcing us to buy other things we don't want to pay for with taxes, too.

There is a substantive, categorical difference between the government taxing us to do what it pleases for it's own purposes and the government ordering us to buy products from a third party, enshrining those third parties with pseudogovernmental protections and authority. Now that the seal has been broken, there is literally nothing stopping the federal government from ordering us to buy other products from other future politically-favored third parties, whether it be cars or corn.

So when I say I cannot tell if the GOPs objections to the individual mandate are philosophical or not, doesn't mean there isn't a philosophical basis for objection. Making the architect of Obamneycare as their standard bearer kind of shows, that for the GOP, it's pretty much cynical.

But don't go dropping a logical fallacy on it... lol


Clearly Obama prefers a public option or a single payer option.

This was as close as he was allowed to get to it.

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