During the ABC News GOP presidential debate earlier this month, Mitt Romney promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying, “If I’m President of the United States, we’re gonna get rid of ObamaCare and return, under our constitution, the 10th Amendment, the responsibility and care of health care to the people in the states.”
But Romney hasn’t always supported eliminating the law in its entirety. For instance, as this video uncovered by Andrew Kaczynski demonstrates, in April 2010 Romney was still carefully contrasting Obamacare with the state reform he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts and promised to maintain some of its provisions. “Some similarities, some differences, and I hope we’re ultimately able to eliminate some of the differences, repeal the bad, and keep the good,” Romney said:
At that point, more than a year before he announced his candidacy for the presidency and just one month after Obama signed health reform into law, Romney was still trying to figure out how best to position himself for the nomination. The view he adopted — however briefly — contrasts sharply with what he’s now telling voters on the stump in Iowa and New Hampshire and undermines his efforts to present himself as consistant in his opposition to the law. For instance, it was during this period, during a conversation with conservative blogger Kavon Nikrad that Romney said that while he disagrees with the federal health care mandate, he does not support its repeal:
“You have stated your intention to spearhead the effort to repeal the ‘worst aspects’ of Obamacare, does this include the repeal of the individual mandate and pre-existing exclusion?”
The Governor’s answer:
Gov. Romney went on to explain that he does not wish to repeal these aspects because of the deleterious effect it would have on those with pre-existing conditions in obtaining health insurance.
The argument Romney was hinting at in April 2010 is precisely how the federal government is defending the provision in court: requiring everyone to purchase health care coverage prevents individuals from gaming the system (buying health care only when they fall ill), allows individuals with pre-existing conditions to find insurance, and helps reduce cost shifts throughout the health care system.
In March of 2010, Romney wouldn’t say if he thought the mandate was unconstitutional.