Ryan Grim @ The Huffington Post - In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, President Barack Obama challenged his critics to identify any "gap" between what he campaigned on last year and the health care legislation Congress is on the verge of passing.
Obama made health care in general a major part of his campaign so that when he won, he could claim a mandate and push for reform during his first year.
In doing so, Obama savaged his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, for arguing that people should be mandated to buy health insurance.
"If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house," he said on a CNN morning show on Super Tuesday during the election. "The reason they don't have a house is they don't have the money. So our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident that if people have a chance to buy high quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. And that's what our plan does, and nobody disputes that."
Obama ripped into his general election opponent, John McCain, for supporting a tax on private insurance, blanketing swing states with mailers and ads saying that McCain was raising taxes and that his plan would lead employers to drop coverage.
"He gives you a tax credit with one hand -- but he raises your taxes with the other," Obama said at the time. "Many employers will drop their healthcare plans altogether."
The mandate and the tax are now major portions of the Senate bill. Indeed, within months of inauguration, Obama was opening up to a tax on benefits. And while McCain's tax would have immediately captured more plans, Obama's tax on insurance -- aimed at so-called "Cadillac plans" -- will capture more and more as costs rise. Read more.