By Jonathan Easley - 12/27/11 06:33 PM EST
The individual mandate was the centerpiece and most controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which has widely been blasted by Republicans — including Gingrich — as government overreach.
“I think you have got to require everybody to either have insurance or post a bond,” Gingrich said in a video uncovered by BuzzFeed — the second item to surface on Tuesday in which the former House Speaker showed support for universal healthcare and the individual mandate.
In a 2006 memo, Gingrich said he “agreed entirely” with then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan, which some have said was the model for President Obama's national reform law. Romney is one of Gingrich's top rivals for the 2012 GOP nomination.
“We also believe strongly that personal responsibility is vital to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System,” Gingrich wrote. “Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance and simply choose not to place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers.”
Gingrich said Romney should be “commended” for passing the state’s universal healthcare package.
That differs sharply from what the former House Speaker said in a 2010 interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.
"It's the forerunner of ObamaCare," Gingrich said. "It is a general model in a general direction and it's the general direction that's wrong. And that's why I'm suggesting you need to be thinking about fundamental change, not just marginal reforms."
Gingrich has admitted that his long history in Washington has necessitated that at times he change positions on issues due to changing circumstances. However, many conservatives see Romney’s healthcare law as the biggest strike against him.
All of the Republican presidential candidates have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act if elected president.