Today, Romney contradicted his top campaign advisers and said the Obamacare health mandate is a tax. It follows that Romney’s health mandate in Massachusetts, which was virtually identical, was also a tax.
Romney, however, disputes this in an interview with CBS. The National Journal has excerpts:
In agreeing with the Court that it constituted a tax and not a penalty, Romney could be vulnerable to criticism that the Massachusetts health care law he championed — which was the basis for Obama’s effort — also represented a tax. But Romney appears to be calculating that voters will care far more about the Court’s findings about the federal law than his state effort.
…In a portion of the interview released by Romney’s campaign, he insisted that a similar levy imposed on those who chose not to buy insurance by the Massachusetts healthcare law he signed as governor was not a tax.
“The chief justice, in his opinion, made it very clear that at the state level, states have the power to put in place mandates. They don’t need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be constitutional. And as a result, Massachusetts’ mandate was a mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the Legislature and by me, and so it stays as it was,” he said.
Thus, Romney’s current position appears to be that although his mandate in Massachusetts is the same as the Obamacare mandate, they should be called something different. It is hard to discern exactly why except, as the National Journal suggests, he percieves a political advantage in insisting on a difference where there is none.