Secretary Thompson Supported Health Care Reform, Before He Was Against It
Thompson’s Support for Individual Mandate, Universal Care for Iraq and Health Care Reform Bill – “A Complicating Factor”
MADISON – Former Bush Administration Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson can expect to face tough questions from Republicans, Tea Partiers and the media as he kicks off his primary campaign for U.S. Senate in the coming weeks.
As right-wing radio host Mark Belling wrote in his most recentcolumn in the Waukesha Freeman: “A complicating factor in Thompson’s likely challenge to Feingold is that Tommy himself last year said he supported the Senate health care bill.”
Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent, also asked in a tweet last week, “Will Tommy Thompson, if he even runs, be the SEN candidate who has hardest time running against health care reform?”
According to an October 5, 2009 story in Politico, titled “Tommy Thompson pushes for health reform,” Secretary Thompson wrote:
“Failure to reach an agreement on health reform this year is not an acceptable option. Inaction will only increase the burden of rapidly rising health care costs and care denied for millions of American families. Inaction will increase the crushing burden of rising health costs on American businesses that are struggling to create jobs and lead America’s economic recovery. It is time for action.”
And on November 20, 2009, “Former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt and former Republican HHS Sec. Tommy Thompson put out another joint statement in favor of reform — this time pumping up the Senate bill.“
According to Secretary Thompson’s statement:
“The health-care bill in the Senate represents another milestone in achieving meaningful health-care reform for millions of Americans… Americans will look back with appreciation for those who set aside political interests to keep the process moving forward.”
Last week, Secretary Thompson started to flip-flop on the issue. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Thompson “is now criticizing the sweeping legislation passed by Congress.”
“Secretary Thompson supported universal health care for Iraq. He supported the individual mandate that Republicans are now filing frivolous lawsuits over. He even supported a couple months ago the health insurance reform plan just passed, Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “But now he flip-flops on health care. He’s mistaken if he thinks he can fool people.”
Secretary Thompson Supports Mandate GOP Wants to Repeal
On yesterday’s edition of ‘UpFront’ with Mike Gousha, Tea Party activist Tim Peterson from New Berlin said “Any concept of ‘mandate’ is going to make the tea party very upset.”
And last week, the Miami Herald reported on the individual mandate issue, writing that “The truth is this is a Republican idea,” and that Thompson and George Bush embraced the individual mandate.
“Seeking to deradicalize the idea during a symposium in Orlando in September 2008, Thompson said, “Just like people are required to have car insurance, they could be required to have health insurance” [Miami Herald, Healthcare Reform Included Big GOP Idea: Individual Mandate, 3/24/2010]
Secretary Thompson Says “Universal care is right for Iraq”
In 2004, the Seattle Times reported that Thompson said “Universal Care is Right for Iraq.”
“Fresh from a two-day weekend visit to Iraq, the Bush administration’s top health-care official defended the $950 million that will be spent to help Iraq establish universal health care.
Congressional Democrats have criticized the administration for helping Iraq to establish universal health care without doing the same for U.S. citizens.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said yesterday there are major differences between the two countries that defy simple comparisons.
“Even if you don’t have health insurance,” said Thompson, who toured medical facilities in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Tikrit on Saturday and Sunday, “you are still taken care of in America. That certainly could be defined as universal coverage.” [The Seattle Times, Wednesday, March 03, 2004]
Last weekend, Ohio Congressman John Boccieri, an Iraq War Veteran, cited Thompson’s Iraqi efforts in speech on the House floor announcing his own support for health insurance reform here in America.
“I’ll remind my friends on the other side (House Republicans) who voted to send (former president George W. Bush’s secretary of health and human services) Tommy Thompson to Iraq with a billion dollar checks in hand to make sure that every man, woman and child in Iraq had universal health care coverage.”
“If it’s good enough for Iraqis, it’s good enough for Americans,” he yelled. “Who are you going to stand with today?”