Ouch. That's getting a lot of play here—as it should—since Virginia passed such an invasive law this year.
But it's a bit unfair, since Mitt Romney himself passed a health care mandate in Massachusetts, and President Richard Nixon proposed a national comprehensive health care system forty years ago. Here is Nixon's message to Congress in February 1974:
To the Congress of the United States:
One of the most cherished goals of our democracy is to assure every American an equal opportunity to lead a full and productive life.
In the last quarter century, we have made remarkable progress toward that goal, opening the doors to millions of our fellow countrymen who were seeking equal opportunities in education, jobs and voting.
Now it is time that we move forward again in still another critical area: health care.
Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.
Three years ago, I proposed a major health insurance program to the Congress, seeking to guarantee adequate financing of health care on a nationwide basis. That proposal generated widespread discussion and useful debate. But no legislation reached my desk.
Nixon goes on to propose a system that would cover everyone. We could have done this 40 years ago! To read the rest of Nixon's plan, click here.