Donald Trump on Friday rushed to assure Republican voters he would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate, less than 24 hours after saying he likes the requirement to have health insurance.
"I will repeal all of #Obamacare, including the mandate, period," Trump tweeted on Friday.
But at a Thursday town hall in South Carolina, Trump told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that he "liked" the mandate, which is one of the least popular parts of President Obama's 2010 healthcare law.
"Well I like the mandate," Trump told Cooper. "Okay, so here's where I'm a little bit different. I don't want people dying on the streets and I say this all the time ... every time I talk about this I get standing ovations. The Republican people, they're wonderful people. They don't want people dying on the streets."
While some conservative policy experts supported a mandate for people to have health insurance back in the 1990s, Republicans have been vehemently opposed to the requirement in Obamacare, saying it's a federal intrusion into citizens' personal lives — and the issue was taken all the way up to the Supreme Court. By suggesting he liked the mandate, Trump could anger conservative voters in South Carolina, where he's trying to win the state's GOP presidential primary on Saturday.
Trump has already set himself apart somewhat from the other Republican presidential contenders on the topic of healthcare. While he says he agrees with them that the healthcare law should be repealed, he has also expressed support in the past for a single-payer system like what Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders wants. He has also called for government negotiation of drug prices through Medicare — a long-time Democratic position.
The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate back in 2012, saying the federal government can constitutionally require people to buy health coverage as part of its taxing authority.