Romney adviser fields questions on pre-existing conditions
October 4th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney adviser fields questions on pre-existing conditions

(CNN) – Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney, suggested in a Thursday interview with CNN that the GOP presidential candidate's health plan may achieve his goal of covering individuals with pre-existing conditions through "state initiatives and money."

Asked at Wednesday's debate what he would put in place of President Barack Obama's health care law, Romney offered two particular provisions: "Number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. Number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan."

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In the interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," Fehrnstrom said "the governor is a federalist when it comes to health care," and supports giving state governments flexibility to craft their own state laws.

When pressed whether Romney would require states to include a pre-existing conditions stipulation in their legislation, Fehrnstrom answered: "We will give the state initiatives and money so that they can manage these decisions on their own. But, of course, we'd like them to see them continue that pre-existing band for those who have continuous coverage."

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a health reform law which included protections against people with pre-existing conditions being denied health coverage or being charged higher prices.

While some, including the president, have characterized the Romney and Obama models as similar, Romney has said his law was appropriate for his state but would not be appropriate nationally.

"The plan we put in place here in Massachusetts works for the people of Massachusetts," Fehrnstrom said, echoing an argument Romney makes on the campaign trail. "The governor will repeal Obamacare and he will return to the states the power to control their own health care futures."

Fehrnstrom explained that Romney supports giving states power to determine what plan best suits their local needs, but also supports a guarantee of coverage for those who, absent legislation, might be denied insurance or reach coverage limits, an aim of Obama's legislation.

"The governor believes that those who have continuous coverage should not be dropped, if they change plans and have a pre-existing condition. But states are well situated to manage these issues," he said.

Romney has said in recent interviews that coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions would be part of his plans.

"My plan is to help bring down the cost of this extraordinary health care inflation, and so instead of putting in place what's affectionately known as Obamacare, I would repeal that and replace that with measures that are designed to help bring down the cost of health insurance and make sure at the same time people have access to health care, preexisting conditions are able to be covered," he said on "Live with Kelly and Michael" in September.

And in an interview for "Meet the Press," Romney said "I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform," specifically naming pre-existing conditions, coverage for "family up to whatever age they might like," and reform the law which lets companies buy insurance for their employees pre-tax, a benefit not granted to people shopping individually.

Romney also said an individual mandate that many or all people obtain health coverage is not necessary to implement coverage of pre-existing conditions and extend coverage of young adults under their families' plans.

Some argue that the mandate - a portion of Obama's law which the Supreme Court upheld this summer - is necessary to prevent individuals from freeloading and to prevent the system from being overloaded with more expensive cases while healthier individuals remain uninsured.

"You don't have to have the government mandate that for that to occur," Romney said at the debate.


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • The Situation Room
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    .... another good answer. Romney is revitalizing federalism far more significantly than Rick Perry could have. Paul Ryan will make a strong case for localism against trillion dollar tax man Biden next week. They are making a solid argument that even caveman can understand... and they are doing it by treating voters like adults.

    October 4, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Ex-GOP Con

    Good Lord-–Mormon Rich Money will say ANYTHING to win your vote!

    October 4, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. Dan5404

    Funny how a flip-flopper and liar has to tell more to cover the first one.

    October 4, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Sharon

    One of the reasons so many people use the ER as their doctor is not only the cost of individual health care policies but, if you have a preexisting condition, in many cases you cannot obtain it. For many years the coastal and manufacturing states had an influx of people from the southern states who wanted to qualify under the more liberal states medicaid plans. The US NEEDS to set a standard in place throughout the country, whether it is overseen by the Federal or state government. All provisions and access should be the same from state to state. What is to stop a state from deciding, again, to sterilize those they determine to be inferior? We need a single payer plan – I have stated before and state again that my relatives in Canada have no issue with their health care plan. All have received quick and quality care. Romney has no health care plan at this time – Ryan and he will 'work' it out as they go along if they are elected.

    October 4, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. BadgerBob

    So, no, pre-existing conditions aren't covered under Romney's plan. He doesn't actually have a plan.

    October 4, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. CBR

    Please do not tell us that states will make sure that those with pre-existing conditions will make sure they have health insurance. The states have no money. The states have had to pay for so many initiatives there is little money left over for health insurance. If we are to have equal access to health insurance in this country then the federal government will have to be responsible for it.

    October 4, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Leroy

    Eric Fehrnstrom (Mr. Etch-a-Sketch) is an utter fool!

    October 4, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. Hillcrester

    Romney is just blowing smoke. It's the arithmetic, stupid. Without mandating insurance coverage, retaining the parts if OvamaCare Rombey claims he would keep makes premiums prohibitively expensive.

    Romney needs to explain in detail–apart from his political PHILOSOPHY preference for Federalism–exactly what us different about diseases and injuries in MA that makes RomneyCare just right for MA but wrong for the other 49 states.

    October 4, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  9. Devona Phx AZ

    I trust Pres Obama!

    October 4, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    He has to lie to get even close to the WH. Shame on ALL mormons. He sets the example (as a Bishop).

    What next? A catholic priest?

    October 5, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  11. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    So, Romney won the debate by lying? I think people will reject Romney Bain style of politics.

    October 5, 2012 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  12. Dowgirl

    Good grief. People have to move. For jobs, family, health. What purpose does it serve to have 50 different plans and the nightmare of having to navigate yet another set of arbitrary rules. For Mr I Hate Big Government, all Romney's plan does is guarantee an explosion of new government, at the state level. Government is government, wherever it comes from and pushing it all down to the states is like trying to stamp out fire ants with your foot. No government is reduced by this strategy.

    October 5, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  13. John

    In the final weeks of this campaign, the GOP is throwing in everything to win at all costs. The continuing reversals is what they have had as policy now shows that they can not be trusted to keep their promises after they are elected. Surely the American people can see through what this party of the rich is trying to do just to win he election. Steady the course and vote straight ticket Democrat.

    October 5, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  14. DJ

    See here is the problem states that are economically poor will let those that are also poor go to the way side and states that have wealthy incomes will more than likely not even participate. Healthcare should be at the Federal level so that EVERYONE has a fair chance!!!

    October 5, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |