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Romney strongly defended individual mandate in Massachusetts, emails show

'We must have an individual mandate for any plan to work,' the then-governor's health secretary wrote.

When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts and getting health reform passed there, emails demonstrate he strongly defended the individual mandate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Republicans now criticize the much-hated requirement that everyone get health insurance and it's the center of some of the strongest challenges to the 2010 health reform law. But the emails join other historical evidence that the mandate was originally a Republican idea, one that President Obama only reluctantly embraced later.

The Wall Street Journal said it obtained to be the most complete set of Romney's internal emails to date. "We must have an individual mandate for any plan to work," Tim Murphy, Romney's health secretary, writes in one to the then-governor and several aides on Feb. 16, 2006.