Republicans, Democrats flip-flop on health care

Geoffrey Lawrence

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.

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.