Romney's Health Care 101
May 12th, 2011
05:28 PM ET
4 years ago

Romney's Health Care 101

(CNN) - In a Thursday speech that was equal parts college lecture and campaign stump, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney issued a defense of the health care "experiment" he implemented while governor and slammed the Obama administration's health care reform law as a federal "power grab."

The potential GOP presidential contender said he would "issue waivers for all 50 states" to opt-out of health care reform on his first day in office should he be "lucky" enough to become president. He expressed the same sentiment in an op-ed for USA Today Thursday, which explicitly detailed his five-point plan.

Romney faced down criticism from fellow GOP hopefuls including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, as well as possible questions from conservative voters whom he may rely on for support, should he choose to run. He opened his address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with an explanation of how the Massachusetts plan differs from one-year-old health care reform.

He joked that some may ask "I heard that your plan in Massachusetts is a lot like President Obama's plan," and question why he's so anxious to repeal it. And Romney responded with a lesson in American history.

"The people in America are sovereign," he said, explaining that the framers decided "states would be the laboratories of democracy and compete with one another."

"I'm convinced that the Obama administration fundamentally doesn't believe in that American experiment," he continued. "They distrust that states are the ones with the power to decide."

Romney countered criticism by asserting that the Massachusetts plan was such an experiment. Though his action was "a plan for the state of Massachusetts," he described health care reform law as "a power grab by the federal government."

And according to Romney, the differences between his plan and Obama's are many, but similarities exist as well-and he's not willing to apologize for one of them.

Though he "respects" those who believe he should've taken a different course as governor and realizes that his explanation is "not going to satisfy everyone," he would not reject the individual insurance mandate included in the Massachusetts plan - the pesky similarity to federal health care reform that serves as fodder for criticism from both sides of the aisle.

"It wouldn't be honest," Romney said. "I, in fact, did what I thought was right for the people of our state."

The 2008 presidential candidate attempted to put distance between the president and himself, while moving closer to his base, by calling the health care reform law "an economic nightmare" and the reason "why this recession has taken to so long to move on from."

He also insisted that his reform would "share some of the objectives" of the plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, which he touted as including choice, inserting market dynamics, and keeping Medicare solvent.

Romney's silver bullet solution to health care reform is to drive costs down by encouraging "the consumer to care about the cost and the quality" of their own health care and to "get health care to work like a market."

In the end, he's confident that voters will see it his way.

"If I am the nominee on the Republican side of the aisle and I get the chance to debate President Obama, this is what we're going to talk about," he said.

"I'm confident that the people will say the Mitt Romney U.S. reforms, that's a lot better than Obamacare."

One potential opponent for Romney wasted no time in issuing a response to his speech.

Santorum released a statement following Romney's remarks that criticized his "work to institute the precursor to national socialized medicine."

"Both Romneycare and Obamacare infringe upon individual freedom and exponentially increase the government's health care cost burden," Santorum said.

"We need leaders who believe in the American people again, not the power of government to solve our problems…the Governor had the right to implement Romney-Obamacare at the state-level, but that does not make it the right thing to do."


Filed under: Health care • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Marko

    Please. Lets just all opt out of him.

    May 12, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Lolo

    Flip flopper just to get elected. These republicans and tea partiers are really crazy. The things they say are just too funny!!!!!!!!!! They have no clue about the real world. Jesus take the wheel. LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    May 12, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    I'm confident that the people will say the Mitt Romney U.S. reforms, that's a lot better than Obamacare."
    ____________________________________________________________________________________
    Yeah, but not the large unions. Obama gave them a $60 billion gift in his bid to get support and get it passed quickly. What will Romney give the unions? Here's a hint. The union bosses don't come cheap. They like the good life.

    May 12, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Republican Robber Baron

    " I was for my own Romney-Care plan before I was against it" says Mitt. Ditto for abortion. Who knew Romney had a credibility gap. Not to mention the gaffee tying the poor family dog to the roof of his car in the winter...while on a trip. Even Chevy Chase wouldn't do that on purpose.

    May 12, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Bill

    Go host a game show, Mutt. You will never be president.

    May 12, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Ed

    Romney is trying to run from his past in order to pander to the right wing. This is the strongest candidate the GOP has? No new ideas, only attacks on the President. If that is the case Obama gets another 4 years!

    May 12, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. FactCheck

    Flip and flop and flippity flop. Mittens is the only viable candidate (i.e. non-lunatic) that the GOP can offer up and even then, they can't bring themselves to vote for him.

    May 12, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Larry L

    The concept of State control of all health care must consider states like Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia, and other less wealthy "Red States". What do these states do with the huge population of poor people who have no money to contribute to health insurance programs? If the cost of health insurace isn't spread across all income groups and all demographies, no insurance program can make enough to pay for the outrageous prices for quality care. Massachuetts is an entirely different place from the rural South. The President has tried to deliver a program while the Republicans filibuster even those thing they suggested. It's class warfare and the GOP represents the wealthy – if you're rich you live – if you're poor you die. That's the GOP dream...

    May 12, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Steve

    What's the point to all this, Mitt? In order to get the nomination you will have to run to the fringe right and then if nominated run to the middle where independent voters are. The final question they will ask, "what exactly do you believe in, other than your political glory." No matter what the answer is; the public won't buy it. Save your money.

    May 12, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. atlantic1

    He's tripping over his words. Entertaining to watch.

    May 12, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. ody

    I feel sorry for this dude....seriously he would ve learnt from Mc cain that no one is elected after a failed primary in the past, its that simple

    May 12, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Anthony

    Mitt,
    You need a waiver from the conservative Christians in your party just to get out of the Republican primary. Sorry, you are never going to get it.

    May 12, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. a health economist

    I'd love to ask Romney how are things different between the individual 'mandate' of the current law and the individual 'mandate' proposed by the Republicans in the 1990's as an alternative to the Clinton plan different? I know one was done by his"'team" and the other his "team's" rival. But come on!

    May 12, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. B

    States experimenting with their own solutions has already been experienced with historic negative results.

    Republican’s end results are, the wealthy wined up owning or controlling everything to the detriment of everyone else.

    Social Darwinism, Money and Power control absolutely everything with the less fortunate being left to their own.
    The Republicans will never change and could care less about people or their problems.

    May 12, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. keylargo

    So what if Obama mistrusts states, so do I. I once lived in that state Romney comes from, and I didn't know what corruption was until I lived in Mass. for awhile. Yeah, Mitt I mistrust states too.

    May 12, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Mitt Romney for President, Michael Vick for Vice President

    Isn't Mitt Romney the one that tied his dog to the roof of his station wagon? Yes you heard correctly – the roof of the car. The poor dog was so terrified
    that it pooped all over itself. This man has extremely poor judgement.

    May 12, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. vet in texas

    Sorry Mitt, I am not a believer in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. I'll bet you and Gingrich made a fortune of Romneycare.

    May 12, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. reasontolive

    RomenyCare and ObamaCare are basically the same plans. The waivers states are able to get for ObamaCare does not exempt them from the requirements of the plan, only allow them to create their own that meet ObamaCare requirements. (Romney's state of Massachusetts received a waiver because they already have RomneyCare.) So his premise is wrong on a couple counts. Obama does trust the states because the plan includes waivers for states that have or want to develop their own plans. Issuing waivers his first day of office would still require the states to do their own plan, which is already permitted and the states can apply for their own waivers.

    May 12, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. ArtInChicago

    When states speak of secession, I would distrust them too.

    May 12, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Old Guy

    More off the wall unsubstantiated BS based totally on the fact that Obama is a sitting democratic president of the opposing party whom which is totally evil and not american. Just keep swinging the BS at the oppostition and hope something sticks. Where are the facts! People critized Bush's policies based on fact and legallity, not Bull! Where are the solutions? Constructive critizism that might improve the situtation?

    May 12, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Jamie from Riverside

    Awww poor Mitt, nice try. You'll never be President. You might have a future as a used car salesman because that's what you look and sound like. I take that back, it isn't fair to used car salesmen.

    May 12, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Jack V

    Let's admit it. The red states are broke and the blue states pay for everything.

    May 12, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. logic in LA

    Mitt Romney is the embodiment of what is wrong with this country. The healthcare plan he signed into law has been an overwhelming success. Yet, because he runs as a Republican and it is not a Republican issue he claims national healthcare is wrong.
    So if he were to become president I guess when he signs into law something that works, he would then say it was wrong.
    Is this what we need running our government?

    May 12, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. bcrunner

    And, he says Obama has no respect for the states?? Didn't President Obama just recently told the governors that if you can come up with a better plan that will cover more people, then we will give you a waiver... As far as I am concerned, the President is showing much respect for the states. He is saying, if you can do better, go for it!!

    May 12, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Rahul

    "The people in America are sovereign," he said... Yeh, the rich call the shots, pay the piper, own for-profit insurance companies. If you're poor and sick with no insurance tough luck. Almost like India's caste system, no? There it's the untouchables, in the US it's the uninsured.

    May 12, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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