The problem for Conservatives and healthcare is their option was accepted.
Actually….it wasn’t. There’s a few things you don’t know.
- At the time, Heritage was not a conservative think tank. It was a more traditional center-right-neocon think tank. Only small minority of its board members and fellows were conservative (meaning, would be defined as small government, modest use of US power abroad, libertarian leanings) by definition.
- After Heritage released their plan, several conservatives resigned from Heritage, disgusted with the plan, in particular the individual mandate.
- The plan circulated among the GOP politicians, but was largely ignored, except by John Chafee, who wrote it into an actual proposals. Chafee, of course, was one of the remaining New England Republicans who are more accurately described as centrist, not conservative.
- The plan proposed by the Democrats and Obama was substantially different from the Heritage plan, in many ways. Quite a bit has been written about that, you can Google up the differences. Bottom line is that by the time the ACA was actually proposed, calling it the “Heritage plan” or a “Republican plan” was only rated as half true by Politifact. And it wasn’t close to being “conservative” at that point.
Politifact wrote this:
“Is the Affordable Care Act really the same as “the Republican plan in the early ‘90s?”
Short answer — sort of. There was a Republican bill in the Senate that looked a whole lot like Obamacare, but it wasn’t the only GOP bill on Capitol Hill, it never came to a vote and from what we can tell, plenty of conservative Republicans didn’t like it.
- Romney is not considered to be a conservative; he’s a NorEastern Republican cut in the same mold as Chafee and Bill Weld. The fact he could get elected governor of such a liberal state is evidence of that.
Of course, the larger issue is that political views shift over time. The GOP has become more conservative, so although the Heritage/Chafee proposal did attract support from GOP centrists, there’s not many of those types in the Senate today. (This is not unusual — — if you were to propose either Social Security or Medicare today, in 2018, the Democrats would barf all over it, if for no other reason that benefits aren’t means-tested.)
This narrative, of course, doesn’t fit current dogma… We pretend Bill Clinton wasn’t a moderate Republican (triangulation) or Obama wasn’t a Corporatist.
I am not altogether sure what point you’re trying to make, there.