During an appearance on CNN’s Situation Room yesterday, Mitt Romney responded to questions about why he took out the suggestion that Massachusetts’s health care reform law could be applied to the nation from an updated version of his book, No Apology. In the hardcover edition, Romney wrote, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting the government take over health care,” but the sentence was omitted from the paperback issue.
“We updated the book because it came out almost a year after the first book and of course the president’s plan was then put in place,” Romney explained. “I was asked when we put our plan together, by Dan Balz of the Washington Post, ‘Is the plan in Massachusetts something that if you are president, you’d have the entire country adopt?’ And I said no. I said that very clearly. I’ve said it throughout 2008. The Massachusetts plan was crafted for Massachusetts.”
But Romney is wrong — after signing reform into law in 2006, he repeatedly argued that his plan could serve as a model for the nation as a whole and the states individually. For instance, in the article by Dan Balz from Nov. 26, 2007 Romney said, “I was just across the country this week talking about my plan. I’m very proud of my health-care plan and think it should be a model for other states to adopt.” Other examples:
– “How much of our health-care plan applies to other states? A lot. Instead of thinking that the best way to cover the uninsured is by expanding Medicaid, they can instead reform insurance.” [WSJ, 4/11/2006]
– “There are certain aspects of it that I think would work across the country, perhaps better in some states than others. Of course the great thing about federalism is you let a state try it and see how it works before you spread it out. [MSNBC, 4/12/2006]
-– “And there may be some aspects of it that can be picked up by other states and that would be valuable for other states, perhaps even some national elements that could be adopted…Everybody in our state has to have health insurance. We`re not going to have free riders — people who can afford to buy insurance, but who decide instead just to show up at the hospital and get free care. And that`s a model which I think has some merit more generally.” [PBS, 6/5/2006]
-– “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.” [Newsweek, 12/2/2007]
The paperback version of No Apology also emphasized the changes he would have made to the plan and how it’s different from “Obamacare.” “First, of course, I would reinstitute my vetoes of the legislature’s additions,” Romney writes in the paperback version, stressing that he believes that the “state should not mandate which benefits must be included in health insurance policies.” He also says he would change the structure of the individual mandate to “provided a tax break for those who have health insurance rather than a tax penalty for those without health insurance.”