Video shows Gingrich defending individual mandate in 2008

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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Before they were rivals for the Republican nomination, House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s health care plan and the individual health insurance mandate at its heart.

“I think you gotta require that everybody have insurance or post a bond,” an animated Gingrich said in a 2008 speech unearthed by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski. Gingrich then went on to say that it is “immoral” for people who can afford health insurance to not buy it.

“The one loophole I’ll give them is, if they don’t want to buy any insurance, post a bond,” Gingrich said. “And we can figure out the value of the bond, but probably if you posted a $100,000 [or] $150,000 bond, you wouldn’t have to buy insurance because you’d have a pool of money available. Most people would discover that’s irrational, I think, and they’d buy insurance.”

Kaczynski also dug up a letter in the “Newt’s Notes” section of Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation website praising Romney’s Massachusetts health care law in 2006.

“The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts,” the letter says. “The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system.”

“We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all Americans,” it continues before praising “Massachusetts leaders” for enacting a “bipartisan proposal to tackle the enormous challenge of finding real solutions for creating a sustainable health system.”

While Gingrich has acknowledged that he once supported the individual mandate, an idea first proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s. Gingrich now says the individual mandate is “clearly unconstitutional,” but told NBC’s Meet The Press last May that Americans “ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond.”

A Gingrich spokesman did not immediately return The Daily Caller’s request for comment for this story.