On April 8th, Mitt Romney told a New Hampshire newspaper that the individual mandate was “unconstitutional” and reiterated his pledge to repeal ObamaCare. “I think it’s unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front,” he said.
This week, however, Romney told Kavon Nikrad, a conservative blogger, that he does not support repealing the “unconstitutional” individual mandate or the provision that prohibits insurers from banning coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. The RightOSphere blog caught up with Romeny and reported the following exchange:
“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.
Indeed, Romney is doing some awkward kabuki to position himself both as a can-do reformer and as a conservative tea partier. Having signed an individual mandate into law on the state level, he understands the insanity of repealing it. Romney has repeatedly defended the individual mandate as a “conservative” policy and has argued that it’s essential for covering every American.
“Everybody in America today has health care,” he said during a recent interview on Fox Business. “If they get sick, even without insurance, they get free care, paid for by government. We said no more of that. No more free riders. We want people taking personal responsibility for getting health insurance if they can afford it.” And, he’s right. The individual mandate creates incentives for otherwise healthy Americans to purchase insurance and may be the the only way to achieve affordable universal coverage. Without a mandate, only the sick who need health care would be motivated to purchase it. The pool of insured would be weighted with sick individuals, forcing the costs of the premium to escalate.
Recently, Romney hinted that he may change his position on ObamaCare if he wins the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012 and take credit for some aspects of the national reform law.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom calls the report “inaccurate.”
,Romney was asked by Newsweek about his claim that Massachusetts health reform should “be a model for the nation.” Romney flip-flopped, saying he meant that it is a “model for the states”:
NEWSWEEK: Back in February 2007, you said you hoped the Massachusetts plan would “become a model for the nation.” Would you agree that it has?ROMNEY: I don’t … You’re going to have to get that quote. That’s not exactly accurate, I don’t believe.NEWSWEEK: I can tell you exactly what it says: “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.”ROMNEY: It is a model for the states to be able to learn from. During the campaign, I was asked if I was proposing that what I did in Massachusetts I would do for the nation. And the answer was absolutely not. Our plan is a state plan. It is a model for other states — if you will, the nation — it is a model for them to look at what we’ve accomplished and to better it or to create their own plans.