It sure did take a long time for Romney and Gingrich to change their minds on the mandate

So why the late turnaround?

“You know, it’s hard for me to not to be cynical about this, frankly,” says Patricia Danzon. She’s a professor of health care management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

She’s also a co-inventor of the individual mandate back in the late 1980s as one of a quartet of free-market academics. It’s the plan that ultimately became the Republican alternative to President Clinton’s proposal.

“Our objective was to try to design a health care system that would rely on competitive markets to provide the insurance, but would achieve universal coverage,” Danzon said. “And would do it in a way that is as efficient as possible, meaning not cost more in tax revenue than is necessary, but also be reasonably fair and equitable.”

Oh, and not have the government run it.