During the keynote address to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council’s annual Health Trends Conference in April 2006, Gingrich said he would require Americans earning above a certain income level to buy health insurance or post a bond, the Detroit Free Press reported.
In a June 2007 op-ed in the Des Moines Register, Gingrich wrote, “Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it.” An “individual mandate,” he added, should be applied “when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed.”…
Ed Haislmaier, a health care policy expert at the Heritage Foundation (the conservative think tank that first championed the mandate), said he did not have enough information to comment on Gingrich’s past approach to health care reform. Haislmaier did, however, note that there is a distinction between taxing individuals for not buying insurance and requiring them to post a bond, as Gingrich proposed. While the former is a penalty for not getting coverage, “what [the latter] is saying is you have to pay your bills if you get care,” he said.
A bond, as Haislmaier noted, is exactly what Romney initially proposed while he was governor of Massachusetts. Romney ended up signing off on a more traditional mandate only after it was passed by the state legislature.