March 25, 2010

As we have already pointed out there are a number of Attorneys General threatening to sue to challenge the individual mandate in the health care bill. Rachel points out the other problem the Republican Party has if they take this stance. They loved the mandate before they decided they were against the mandate. Republican hypocrisy never seems to run in short supply.

I'm no expert on this but I have heard a few people kick around the idea that if by some chance the courts did rule against the mandate that would be a good thing because it would force them to switch to a Medicare buy in or some other type of public option instead to increase the size of the pool which sure as hell would not break my heart. It really doesn't sound like these suits are going to prevail in court though.

As Rachel notes, Mitt Romney now has a big problem because back in the day he was arguing about how the mandate was a wonderful thing, as long as it was only enacted on a state level. Matthew Yglesias reported on how Lee Fang tried to get Mittens to weigh in on the individual mandate and didn't have much luck.

Mitt Romney Won’t Say if the Foundation of Romneycare is Unconstitutional:

Barack Obama’s health insurance reform plan involves an individual mandate. So does the plan that Mitt Romney signed as Governor of Massachusetts. At the time Romney signed the plan, he was a moderate Republican and CommonwealthCare was considered a sober-minded centrist plan. Now Romney is a conservative, and conservatives have decided that ObamaCare is a socialist plot, so he’s had to make up a lot of reasons that their extremely similar plans are actually totally different. Part of the conservative assault, though, is hard for Romney to wriggle away from—the right’s claim that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. Obama’s got one, and Romney’s got one. So does Romney agree with the right that RomneyCare is unconstitutional, or will he defend Obama from this charge?

My colleague Lee Fang asks Romney and he refuses to say.

Go watch the video there for Romney's convoluted response.

And as Rachel points out we have Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch's hackery. From TPM -- Grassley: Health Care Bill Is Bad -- I Just Added Good Things To It (VIDEO):

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today explained his health care flip-flop, saying of the health care bill that "even though it's got a lot of good things," even "a lot of things that I wrote," in the end "the bad outweighs the good."


Host Andrea Mitchell also asked him about the individual mandate, something currently being challenged on constitutional grounds, but which Grassley himself helped conceive in 1993 during the Clinton Administration.

Grassley explained: "If it was unconstitutional today, it was unconstitutional in 1993, but I don't think anybody gave it much thought" back then.

And then there's Orrin Hatch:

VAN SUSTEREN: Your state attorney general has signed on to this lawsuit to challenge it on constitutional grounds. You're a lawyer. Your thoughts on it, any legs to that, or is this --

HATCH: Back on Hillary-care they had a mandate in there. I didn't realize it, I didn't pay attention to it. We were trying to defeat Hillary-care. The more I studied since then, the more I've looked at it, the more I've come to the conclusion it would be unconstitutional to force people to buy something they don't want to buy.

Rachel points out how ridiculous that statement is.

Maddow: No, no, no. The mandate was your idea. It's a good thing they didn't pass your own proposal back then when you proposed it Senator. Turns out that you hadn't really thought about just how unconstitutional it was... back then... when it was your idea... that you didn't know anything about.

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