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Hillary Clinton must be pulling her hair out and John McCain is probably banging his head against the wall after seeing their unpopular positions on health care reform co-opted by President Barack Obama, who scored big political points against both of them on this critical issue during last year’s campaign, only to end up adopting their respective approaches.

If you recall, during the fierce, neck-and-neck primary battle, Ms. Clinton–then a U.S. Senator, and now Secretary of State–insisted that to achieve universal health insurance, coverage had to be mandatory. But then-Sen. Obama demurred, arguing that health care reform could not succeed if it was punitive, meaning adults should not be forced to buy coverage. (He did eventually agree that all parents should have to get coverage for their kids.)

Now that he’s in the White House, however, he is changing his tune. The indications are that the President might in fact go along with some sort of health insurance requirement for all, as long as exemptions and/or subsidies are provided for those who cannot afford coverage. (Didn’t Ms. Clinton suggest that as well?)

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