Mitt Romney appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America today and offered no apology for the Massachusetts health reform plan he signed as governor, even after a district judge in Florida challenged the constitutionality of the individual health mandate. “I’m not apologizing for it, I’m indicating that we went in one direction and there are other possible directions. I’d like to see states pursue their own ideas, see which ideas work best,” Romney said, arguing that a state can force citizens to purchase insurance, but the federal government cannot:
ROMNEY: I think it is a very bad piece of legislation. I think the President should have been more attuned to what we did in our own state, which is we allowed each state to create a solution to the uninsured in the way that the states thought best, that’s the way the Constitution intended it. We are a federalist system. We don’t need the federal government imposing a one-size-fits all plan on the entire nation.
To be clear, Romney didn’t “allow each state” to do anything. As Governor, he enacted a mandate-centric reform in Massachusetts that’s very similar to the federal health care law.
The Affordable Care Act permits states to opt out of the individual mandate if they think they can do a better job of expanding access and lowering health care cost. Section 1332 specifically says that states can obtain an innovation waiver from the mandate and some of the law’s other requirements.
ROMNEY: We have found that we can get everybody insured without breaking the bank and without a public option…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.”
At that point, the former Massachusetts governor was busy attacking the public option and didn’t give too much thought to distancing himself from the mandate, which some national Republicans still supported. He berated 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.