Former individual mandate champion Gingrich now cheerleads efforts to declare it unconstitutional

In recent days, Newt Gingrich has approvingly cited efforts by Republican attorneys general in several states to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation's provision requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. But as recently as 2008, Gingrich proposed such an individual mandate on some Americans as part of his own health care reform plan.

Gingrich approvingly cites efforts to challenge constitutionality of the individual mandate

From the March 23 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Do you think any of these constitutional challenges that are out there about the employer mandate, individual mandate, or any of the other challenges -- do you think as they work their way through the courts, that any of that will be effective?


GINGRICH: Then you have to appeal the president's ruling and they'd probably lose that fight. But what my sense is -- first of all, I'm glad to see that some 13 attorneys general around the country --

HANNITY: Are going to sue.

GINGRICH: Have sued. Based on a 1992 Supreme Court decision which said that the federal government cannot punish you for failure to do something, I think that there's an outside chance the suit will hold up. And that that will stop the individual mandate at the federal level.

But I don't think people have fully read the final version of this bill, not to mention the final version of reconciliation. And there may be a number of places where this legislation is open.

Plus, you know the left is going to sue on the executive order on abortion.

From Gingrich's March 24 column:

No one should be confused about the outcome of Sunday's vote in the House on the healthcare bill.

This is not the end of the fight. It is the beginning.


The fight will continue in the states where 38 of them have filed or are planning to file legislation that rebukes Obamacare's “individual mandate” that requires you to purchase insurance even if you would rather pay directly for medical care. In addition, Attorneys General from several states plan to file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the healthcare bill's individual mandate.

But Gingrich included an individual mandate in his health care proposals as recently as 2008

June 2008 Associated Press article: “Gingrich suggests insurance mandate for those who can afford.” According to a June 11, 2008 Associated Press article (accessed from the Nexis database), which ran under the headline, “Gingrich suggests insurance mandate for those who can afford,” Gingrich reportedly “outlined his strategy to combat rising health care costs a plan of attack that includes insurance mandates for people who earn more than $75,000 a year” at a visit to a Nebraska health system. The article went on to report that “Gingrich called it 'fundamentally immoral' for a person who can afford insurance to save money by going without, then show up at an emergency room and demand free care. He said those who can afford insurance and choose not to buy it should be required to post bonds to pay for care they may someday need... Gingrich said everyone should have insurance, but not provided by the federal government.”

Gingrich's 2008 book Real Change: "[W]e should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage" or “post a bond.” Discussing how to “achieve health insurance coverage for all Americans” in his 2008 book, Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works, Gingrich wrote:

Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage (or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor. [Page 276]

Gingrich's 2005 book Winning the Future: "[W]e should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system." In his 2005 book, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, under a section titled, “Your 21st Century Health Rights,” Gingrich wrote:

4. You have the right to be part of the lowest-cost insurance pool and you have a responsibility to buy insurance. We need some significant changes to ensure that every American is insured, but we should make it clear that a 21st Century Intelligent System requires everyone to participate in the insurance system.


People who for libertarian reasons do not want to be insured should be required to post a bond so their health care costs will be covered if they have an accident or an expensive illness.

[Page 116]

Conservative legal scholars and other experts says mandate is constitutional

Many legal scholars -- including conservatives Jonathan Adler and Orin Kerr, who oppose Democratic health care reform efforts -- have disputed the claim that the health care reform legislation is unconstitutional because it requires people to have health insurance.