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Argument: Mandatory health insurance has strong bipartisan support

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Mort Kondrack. Mandatory insurance could solve health crisis, aid politicians". Real Clear Politics. March 15, 2004: "The idea has a bipartisan pedigree. It was advanced in the early 1990s by the late Sen. John Chafee (R.I.), a moderate Republican, who had 22 co-sponsors on a mandatory insurance bill in 1994.

It's been embraced more recently, in different forms, by centrist Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), liberal Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and conservative Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).

And, during the presidential primaries, both Sens. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Wesley Clark (D) called for a variant on it - a requirement that all children in America be covered.

Right now, the idea is being promoted by one of the most imaginative think tanks in Washington, the New America Foundation, a veritable font of proposals to reshape politics and the economy for the Information Age and the baby boom retirement era.

The foundation's president, Ted Halstead, estimates that it would cost the government $80 billion a year to assure that all Americans have health insurance - $10 billion less than Democratic Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) is proposing to cover only 27 million of the nation's 43 million uninsured."

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