Romney to talk about troublesome issue: Health care
May 10th, 2011
12:41 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney to talk about troublesome issue: Health care

(CNN) - Mitt Romney is expected to tackle health care reform later this week, an issue that could be problematic for the probable Republican presidential candidate.

The former Massachusetts governor's presidential exploratory committee announced Tuesday that Romney will travel to Michigan Thursday to "present his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that lower costs and empower states to craft their own health care solutions."

And Romney officials confirmed to CNN that their boss will speak in Iowa on May 27. The visit will be Romney's first this year to Iowa, the state which kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar.

Romney's scheduled to speak at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. The story was first reported by the Des Moines Register Tuesday and confirmed by a Romney aide.

When he ran for the GOP nomination in 2008, Romney spent a lot of time and money campaigning in the state. He came in second in the caucuses, behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But if as expected, he makes a second bid for his party's nomination, it's doubtful Romney will pay as much attention to Iowa as he did in 2008.

On health care reform, Romney's expected to outline his principles at an event at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to an email release from Romney aides, his proposals include restoring responsibility to the states, giving tax deductions to those who buy their own health insurance, streamlining the federal regulation of health care, reducing the influence of lawsuits on medical practice and costs, and making healthcare more like a consumer market and less like a government program.

Last month Democrats highlighted the fifth anniversary of the signing by the former Massachusetts governor of a universal health care law in the Bay state.

The measure, which has been criticized by some fellow Republicans, could hurt Romney with GOP primary and caucus voters if he decides, as expected, to make another run for the White House.

On April 12, 2006, the then Republican governor in a state dominated by Democrats and independents, signed into law a health care plan that would insure almost every resident of Massachusetts. At the time, it was praised by supporters of health care reform as a landmark achievement for Romney. The lynchpin of the law was an insurance mandate that required the people of Massachusetts to get health insurance.

Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has taken formal steps in running for the GOP presidential nomination, has been critical of the Massachusetts law, as has former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the White House in 2008 and may make another bid for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Romney addressed his record in a March speech, explaining the law was a "state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts."

"Our experiment wasn't perfect. Some things worked. Some didn't. And some things I'd change," Romney said. "One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover."

And last year Romney supported conservative candidates who wanted to repeal the president's health care reform law.

But in an interview with CNN in 2009, as Washington was debating President Barack Obama's health care proposal, Romney said portions of the Massachusetts law could serve as a model for the country.

"I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans," Romney told CNN at the time. "The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from."

Democrats, including President Obama himself, have recently praised Romney's 2006 law for setting the stage for health care reform on the national stage.

"In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he's proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions," Obama said earlier this year.

The strategy here appears to be two-fold: Hurt Romney in the battle for the GOP nomination by tying him to the national health care reform law, which is despised by many Republicans. Many Tea Party movement activists and other conservatives view the national law's insurance mandate as unconstitutional. If Romney wins the nomination, Democrats hope comparisons of the national health care law to what Romney did in Massachusetts will soften opposition by independents and moderate Republicans to the president's health care measure.

The insurance mandate in "Romneycare" wasn't a major liability in the governor's first presidential run in 2008 because Obama's health care law wasn't born yet.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. PalmReader

    Broken down into GOPer/TeaPer English:

    When I did it, it was very, very good. When President Obama did it, it was very, very bad.

    May 10, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    I Imagine it'll be something like: I was for it before I was against it.

    FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP

    May 10, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. al in memphis

    When I read a health care programs was okay for the state, but wrong at the federal level– I immediately remembered that I forgot to take my keep me stupid pill this morning.
    Health care industry and the insurance programs that support it is a monopoly. Yeah you can go to different companies like free market, but the consumer really does not have any negiogating leverage when the only other options is suffering/death.

    May 10, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Tulsa

    Good luck with that Mittens.

    May 10, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Democrats have an extremely difficult time standing up to Mitt Romney directly on the issues. He has a firm command of the economic, security and management issues facing the federal government. What I am sure we will see coming out from the liberal posters on this board sre their reasons why they believe the GOP will not elect Romney. But they are wrong. Mitt Romney has a huge and growing base of support throughout the Republican Party. And he deserves it.

    May 10, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. HAD ENOUGH? 9% unemployment, $4-5/gal gas, $1.7 TRILLION deficits, $14 TRILLION debt, Obamacare

    It's about time somebdy starts resurrecting the repeal of Obamacare. It will be the key to removing Obama from the Whitehouse in 2012.

    May 10, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. diridi

    there is absolutely no difference between yours and pres. Obama's. just shut up....o.k, I am glad, pres. Obama passed this much needed Health Care Reform at the right time and in a right manner....absolutely no problem of what so ever with this legislation....o.k., Constitutionally is is right, and nothing is to fear....o.k, It is passed with bonafide intention of serving for the good of the people of America...obama 2012...

    May 10, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. ConservaFASCISTS

    If the government gives people tax breaks to purchase their own insurance, that will not take away from the fact that premiums will to continue to rise annually. That sounds like the voucher program Ryan is proposing for Medicare. The President gave governors across the country an option to come up with a better solution for healthcare reform. That was a few months ago and yet we have not seen any governor present a healthcare bill that will bend cost. Why is that? Romney can't run away from Romneycare. Those nuts on the right are going to eat him alive for passing it.

    May 10, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Is health insurance not a part of commerce? In order to appease the baggers, the supreme (lol) court would have to rule that it is not, and therefore affordable health care would be unconstitutional. Good luck with the nonsense we label as republican stupidity.

    May 10, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Name Creole

    These Republic party Of No and Flip Flopers are the worst thing I have seen in my 44 YRS. And if you vote for them It tell's you alot about yourself you need a brain check.

    May 10, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    How come no one goes ape siht about mandated automobile insurance but will over health insurance?

    Where are people's prioritities? :/

    May 10, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. A Real American

    Mitt kinda looks like he has that "not-so-fresh feeling" in this photo.

    May 10, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We haven't even seen how well all of the different things work in the health care law. Some people are too paranoid about things. We need to have more of communal thinking, what can we do to improve the group, when it comes to health care and other social welfare needs.

    May 10, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. The Other Michael in Houston

    Mitt the switch will never win against President Obama.....or any Republican. Although I am a REAL independent that voted for President Obama and I am not happy with some of his decisions, there is nothing any Republican running has said to make me want to vote for them

    May 10, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Tulsa

    @Four and the Door...
    Still waiting to hear ONE BILL that the House passed since the mid-terms about job creation.......

    May 10, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. boscobear

    Just blowing in the tea party wingnut wind. Whatever direction they go in, he follows.

    May 10, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. ingrid

    I hate to agree with Four and the Door, but in this rare instance he is right. Though, I think he overstates it when he says that "democrats have an extremely difficult time standing up to Mitt Romney." No they do not. I am pretty sure MR did not win in the last election against Obama. Obama is not afraid nor are the democrats of MR. But that said, the rest of the analysis is correct. I will note that the Mormon issue will come out again and Romney is weak on the health care issue. He cannot evade the fact that the MA reform was under his leadership. He should be honest and embrace it with caveats.

    May 10, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Give it up Mittens. The baggers do not want a flip-flopper for a candidate. If you are not packing, you are lacking and should be back tracking.

    May 10, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. Democrats for a Socialist USA Unite

    We just need the government to take over healthcare so we all have access to the latest 70's technology. I hear Cuba and the old USSR had the greatest healthcare system in the world. I hear people even live into their late 40's there. Maybe we can just send all of our people there for care? Or maybe contract with Canada because I hear they have a great healthcare system? Pay no attention to the people coming here from Canada for medical care. They are just dumb uneducated hicks that don't know how good they got it.

    May 10, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    @Four and The Door

    Democrats have an extremely difficult time standing up to Mitt Romney directly on the issues. He has a firm command of the economic, security and management issues facing the federal government. What I am sure we will see coming out from the liberal posters on this board sre their reasons why they believe the GOP will not elect Romney. But they are wrong. Mitt Romney has a huge and growing base of support throughout the Republican Party. And he deserves it.
    -------------------------------
    Romney has more trouble standing up to his own party than he does Democrats. Don't forget that the GOP rejected Romney in favor of McCain in 2008. Don't you remember why that was so? He's percieved as weak by most of the GOP. But, that does not change the fact the Romney could be the best in the current crop, which ain't saying much. He will never get the nomination because the GOP is too entrenched in traditions: "once a loser, always a loser." Why do you think Iowa is begging for Christie?

    May 10, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. kakaraka

    See, this clown think he can fool american people. Give tax break to buy private insurance. Obama is now doing just that. What else new? Miit, romeycare = obamacare, same coverage for great prices. People win, big insurance also win. Get over it. You can have it both ways.

    May 10, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. nobama

    You are all missing the point. He thought he was doing something good for his state. He has realized that it was a huge mistake and it doesn't work. Now we have ObamaScare that uses much of the same approach that has been proven NOT to work. So you goofs take tht fact that Romney has learned a lesson and ignore that the panderer in chief is making the same mistake. DUUUUH!!!

    May 10, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    I just can't bring myself to think seriously about a man that puts Joseph Smith as his idol.

    May 10, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Enter the Pander-Bear of the 2012 election cycle.

    May 10, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Yanni

    I am sure Mr. Romney will come up with a creative way of explanation to make us believe his universal healthcare is different from the Affordable Healthcare Act; in his second pursuit to become the POTUS. By the way Thank you Mr. Romney for being the first inventor of Obamacare while you were Governor of Mass including universal mandate for healthcare.

    May 10, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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