Tommy Thompson Hides Past Support For Obamacare

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI)

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-WI)

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services and Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) is again denying his previous support for much of the Affordable Care Act. Nancy-Ann DeParle, President Obama’s healthcare adviser, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tuesday that Thompson had been a key backer of the law’s implementation prior to his current Senate campaign. He is the Republican nominee against Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) for the open seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D).

The paper reports Thompson attended a high-profile implementation strategy meeting, two years ago:

“He was, from what we could tell, working toward implementation,” DeParle said. “I’m not going to say that he agreed with every single provision that ended up in the law – I won’t say that. But he was very helpful in implementation and we asked for his help and he said he would help us.

“Then I don’t know, he decided he’s not for it now but he certainly was then. . . . He seems to have swerved to the right,” she said.

Thompson’s campaign immediately disputed the characterization, claiming he has “has always opposed Obamacare.” A year ago, Thompson told ABC News ” I did not support Obamacare. I’ve come out against Obamacare time and time again.”

But last June, in a Huffington Post editorial, Thompson urged Republican governors to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Last April, he lauded Obamacare’s payment reform provisions, saying they give “great discretion” for exermination with “alternative payment systems.” He even tried to dissuade Republicans from repealing the measure, telling CNBC in November 2010, “When it’s all said and done, you’re not going to be able to repeal health care because President Obama is not going to sign it… And they don’t have enough votes to override a veto, so why push a cart uphill when you know it’s not going to be able to get to the top?”

Thompson is now apparently eager to “push a cart uphill” — his campaign website lists “repealing Obamacare and replacing it with market-based solutions” among his top legislative priorities.