Mitt Romney continues to struggle with questions about why he wants to repeal a health care law that is so similar to the health reforms he signed in 2006 as Governor of Massachusetts, particularly since he used to argue that RomneyCare should serve as a template for national reform.
In October of 2009, Romney urged Democrats to use the Massachusetts law as a model to expand coverage. “We have found that we can get everybody insured without breaking the bank and without a public option,” Romney told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. “Massachusetts is a model for getting everybody insured in a way that doesn’t break the bank, doesn’t put the government in the driver’s seat and allows people to own their own insurance policies and not to have to worry about losing coverage. That’s what Massachusetts did,” he said.
But since federal reformers adopted Massachusetts’ individual mandate and standard benefit provisions (among many others), Romney has found himself in the awkward position of having to defend his biggest legislative accomplishment while simultaneously attacking its federal twin. Yesterday, during a book signing in New Hampshire, Romney said that Massachusetts is not a model for coverage expansion:
“Had they brought the federal bill to my desk when I was governor, I’d have vetoed it,” Romney told an audience of 150 yesterday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester…”We solved a problem in the state with a state answer,” Romney said. “We didn’t have the federal government come in and intrude on the rights of states.”…Romney said the federal government created its plan without learning from Massachusetts or any other state. “It shouldn’t have been put in place without experimentation,” Romney said.
Incidentally, Romney used the 2009 interview (at that point, he was too focused on criticizing the public option to worry about other arguments) to berate Democrats for not using Massachusetts as a model. They did, and now he’s pretending that they didn’t.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.