I just came across a very enlightening article on the ongoing debate over US health care policy by Merrill Matthews at the Institute for Policy Innovation, who was writing in Forbes.
Matthews makes the point that, during the last round of intensive health care reform debate that occurred in the early 1990s, most Democrats vehemently opposed the individual mandate for coverage that is the cornerstone of Obamacare (and the reason federal District Court Judge Roger Vinson declared the law unconstitutional). What Democrats wanted at the time was guaranteed issue, a provision that would outlaw the freedom of insurers to deny coverage. Several states passed legislation during that period abolishing this freedom.
However, guaranteed issue meant that premiums would rise and push healthy individuals out of the insurance market. This resulted in premiums rising even faster as healthy individuals realized that they could wait to purchase health insurance until they became sick. Before long, only very sick people were in the insurance market and premiums were sky-high.
This policy failure is how Democrats came to support the individual mandate provision.
Meanwhile, Republicans, many of whom supported the individual mandate during the last round of debate, have abandoned their support of the policy in the wake of public outcry over Obamacare. Further, in an ironic twist, many Republicans are also now supporting the concept of guaranteed issue even as they revile against Obamacare.
In times like these it's hard to tell who's playing for which team. It appears everyone has swapped uniforms.