(His amendment failed by a vote of 230 to 187.)
Yet Republican leaders haven't always been so critical of the individual mandate. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member on the Finance Committee, told Fox News last year that the mandate surrounding car insurance should also apply to health coverage. "Everybody has some health insurance costs, and if you aren’t insured, there’s no free lunch," Grassley said. "Somebody else is paying for it. ... I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates."
More recently, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said that the individual mandate is "about the only way" to fix the nation's fragmented healthcare system.
"We have 46 million people who don’t have insurance out there," Frist told Fox News last September. "Somebody’s going to have to pay for that. If they can pay for it, they should be responsible to paying for it."
Such statements haven't gone unnoticed by Democratic leaders, who voted Tuesday to preserve the mandate.
"It’s hard to determine which is worse," Thornell wrote, "their rank hypocrisy or voting to raise premiums in the exchange by 40% and severely undermining employer sponsored healthcare."