Clinton criticized individual mandate

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Hillary Clinton was a vocal critic of the individual mandate during her husband's administration, according to new documents the Clinton Presidential Library released on Friday.

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"That is politically and substantively a much harder sell than the one we've got," Clinton told Democratic Congressional leaders and committee chairmen in a September 1993 meeting to discuss the White House's healthcare plan, criticizing what was then the counter-offer from centrist Republicans to her own proposals.

"Because not only will you be saying that the individual bears the full responsibility; you will be sending shock waves through the currently insured population that if there is no requirement that employers continue to insure, then they, too, may bear the individual responsibility," Clinton continued.

The individual mandate has become a major focus of GOP criticism of President Obama's healthcare law, and Clinton's remarks will surely be used as fodder to attack her, Obama and the law. Republicans have repeatedly pushed for an end to, or delay of, the individual mandate.

The then-first lady was pushing through a more liberal healthcare plan in 1993 than the one she advocated for while on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008, when both an individual mandate and an employer mandate were part of her overall proposal. At the time, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was critical of the individual mandate, but it later became a core part of ObamaCare.

Clinton's early opposition to an individual mandate is not new information, but her now-public comments criticizing it shed new light on why she took issue with the individual mandate in 1993.

Her remarks suggest that an individual mandate would be tough to sell politically and, without an employer mandate, it could roil the healthcare system. An employer mandate is also part of ObamaCare, but the administration has delayed implementing that part of the bill.

This post was updated at 2:44 p.m.