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Unprecedented by Randy Barnett, Josh Blackman

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PART I

The Once and Future Mandate

(October 2, 1989–January 20, 2009)

With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, President Barack Obama accomplished what eluded Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton—passing comprehensive health care reform to provide health insurance for all Americans. Yet the story of how President Obama led the movement to enact this law begins not in 2010, nor even in 2008, but in the late 1980s. This is a story of Washington politics at its finest.

Over the course of twenty years, conservatives and liberals in all three branches of government conveniently swapped positions on health care reform. The idea of the individual mandate was first advanced ...

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