The tangled web of health reform has taken us from HillaryCare to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts bill to ObamaCare, and each of these plans has borrowed from its predecessors in obvious ways. But when it comes to one of the most controversial elements of our current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, just how far back can we trace its roots? 

James Taranto, an opinion editor at The Wall Street Journal, makes an interesting claim that is backed up by a fairly strong paper trail. The concept of an individual mandate, he says, dates back to the 1989 book A National Health System for America, written by Stuart Butler and Edmund Haislmaier – and it was originally a Republican ideal.

What does this mean for today’s conservatives? The health care battle will continue to rage on, and both Democrats and Republicans are seeking to grasp just what this will mean in an election year. It’s a debate that’s been a long time coming, and it doesn’t look as though it will wind down any time soon.

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