Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that he strongly supports a federal mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance – a position that has been rejected by many Republicans, including several who likely will be running against him for the Republican presidential nomination
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Gingrich told host David Gregory that he continues to advocate for a plan he first called for in the early 1990s as a Congressman, which requires every uninsured citizen to purchase or acquire health insurance.
Gregory played a clip of Gingrich speaking during an appearance on Meet the Press in October 1993:
“I am for people, individuals -- exactly like automobile insurance -- individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.”
Gregory asked Gingrich if he would criticize GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney, whose "Romneycare" health program enacted during his time as Governor in Massachusetts mandated that all uninsured purchase health insurance.
Gingrich replied he would not make it an issue in the campaign and said he agreed with key aspects of Romneycare.
"I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay--help pay for health care," Gingrich said, adding, "I've said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond ..."
Gingrich also admitted that his proposal is a "variation" of the individual mandate, a key component of the Obamacare legislation President Obama signed into law in 2010.
The position staked out by Gingrich appears to be at odds with leading conservative critics of Obamacare, who argue that the law requiring citizens to purchase a private insurance policy is not constitutional.