Should all Americans be required to have health insurance? ObamaCare said yes, and the issue is now central to the Republican presidential primary. Mitt Romney championed an individual mandate as governor of Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich once backed the idea too, egged on by several conservative think tanks, though he's now opposed. Its constitutionality aside (that'll be decided soon by the Supreme Court), is a mandate a good idea? The short answer is no. There is nothing that can be achieved with a mandate that can't be better achieved by a carefully designed system of tax subsidies.