***UPDATED – Santorum supported the individual mandate?

***UPDATED: More context shows no support for individual mandate***

As the primary drags on, the Conservative purity tests get more and more ridiculous.  Truth is, none of the candidates are Conservative, they’re simply Republican (and one lonely little Libertarian). Sure they may have engaged in Conservative behavior on occasion, but what Conservative would ever support  the individual mandate? Apparently, every single candidate (save Ron Paul) has touted their support for the anathema of government controlled health care, even Rick Santorum. The Washington Examiner reports:

Rick Santorum supported the idea of “requir[ing] individuals to buy health insurance” when he ran for U.S. Senate in 1994, according to a local feature article comparing the candidates during that election cycle.

“Santorum and [his opponent] would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits,” The Morning Call (Pa.) reported in 1994. The Morning Call noted that Santorum had also called for a MediSave account and had opposed so-called “sin” taxes.

If true, the distinction between requiring people to buy health insurance and an individual mandate might be lost on the voters who have heard Santorum excoriate Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for their support of the individual mandate — which, in Gingrich’s case, dates back to the early 90s.

The Morning Call does not quote Santorum making comments supportive of an individual mandate, or quote any other candidates in the piece, which attempts to summarize several candidates’ positions on health care.

So which Republican (or Libertarian) will you choose?



***

UPDATE (TRS): I added a question mark to the title primarily because I don’t believe that Santorum supported the individual mandate at all. In regards to the merits of the article that has been quoted by the Washington Examiner, it is only one source and it doesn’t even quote Santorum as supporting the individual mandate. It is just a third party characterization of his policy and one that is in direct conflict with his own words that he has never supported the individual mandate. I just don’t find it to be all that credible.

Dan Riehl dug into this about a month ago and posted a more full summary of Santorum’s policy that was in opposition to HillaryCare, and it mentions no individual mandate. It’s from the same source, but has much more detail:

Wofford campaigned successfully on the health care issue in 1991, and yesterday Santorum took aim at Democratic ideas for health care reform, particularly the plan proposed by President Clinton.

Under the Clinton plan, all employers would be required to provide health insurance for their workers and to pick up most of the cost. That plan would also place caps on how much could be spent on health care each year.
Santorum charged that Clinton’s proposal to administer its system through regionalized health alliances essentially shuts medical professionals out of the process and puts it in the hands of political appointees.

The policy of placing caps on spending could create a horror scene similar to that which has occurred in Canada, where hospitals were shut down for periods of time for everything except emergencies because the money ran out, he said.
He suggested that instead of mandating that employers provide insurance, they should be required to join an insurance network, which would enable their employees to obtain coverage at group rates.

Access is also important in a good health care system, he said. Access could be improved by eliminating restrictions placed on coverage because of pre-existing conditions, by ensuring the right of renewal and through tax credits and vouchers, he said.

On responsibility, he said a Medisave plan will encourage employees to become more responsible health-care consumers.

Medisave calls for lower premiums from employers and higher deductibles from employees, with the savings on the premiums transferred into an interest-bearing, tax-free account that would be used by employees for routine health care. If an employee sought to use the money for anything other than health, the money would become taxable and a penalty would be charged, he said.

With such a plan, people would be motivated to shop for the best deal in an attempt to keep as much money in the account as they can, he said.

Santorum also proposed reforming malpractice suits by putting a cap on money given for pain and suffering.

Bottom line is this: If Santorum really did support the individual mandate, then there should be more than one original source claiming it and if we find this to be true, we’ll post it here. But for now, I find no credible evidence proving that he supported it.

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