August 24th, 2007
05:09 PM ET
16 years ago

Romney unveils 'federalist' healthcare plan

Romney unveiled his healthcare plan Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - He was a chief architect of the universal healthcare plan in Massachusetts, but White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Friday as president he would put in place a policy that allows each state to dictate its own healthcare coverage.

"The insurance market has different mandates, so what works in Massachusetts probably won't work in Texas, it's going to need a different plan," Romney said as he laid out his healthcare proposal during a power point presentation before the Florida Medical Association.

The plan seeks to provide states with federal incentives to "deregulate and reform" their health insurance markets and tax breaks to encourage people to buy private insurance.

Romney also said the Medicaid program for low income Americans should be changed to provide states with block grants for creating their own insurance programs - unhindered by federal mandates.

In a statement released ahead of Romney's speech, the campaign characterized the proposal as a "federalist approach."

"His reforms will give states greater flexibility," the campaign said. "But Governor Romney's conservative reforms also make the states true partners in the effort to expand access to affordable, quality health insurance."

Romney immediately got attacked from his Republican and Democratic opponents.

“Mitt Romney's legacy is the creation of a multi-billion dollar government health bureaucracy that punishes employers and insists middle income individuals either purchase health insurance or pay for their own health care,” Dr. Scott Atlas, a health care advisor to former New York City Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said in a statement. “The former is a mandate, the latter is a tax, and neither one is free-market."

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards attacked the proposal while campaigning in New Hampshire Friday, saying Romney should "come here to New Hampshire and explain to the people I just met with why universal health care was good for the state of Massachusetts but it’s not good for the people of New Hampshire.”

Related: Romney looks to states to expand health care coverage

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Healthcare • John Edwards • Mitt Romney • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. xtina chicago IL

    Steven in Charleston SC–

    Yes, companies with branches in different states have to comply with state laws. I work for a Fortune 500 Co. that has employees residing in many states (I believe we may even have people living in all 50 states)and they have always processed employees' checks according to the indiv. state income tax requirements . It's not a big deal and is quite commonplace in firms with sales people and other depts. scattered across the country. That's what the payroll dept and benefits dept do. When we receive materials in the mail, you see addenda at the bottom of the paperwork with state-specific information with regard to health coverage and taxes.

    August 26, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  2. xtina chicago IL

    Some people think that because an issue is difficult to solve, we should hand it over to the federal government. Well, the federal government is comprised of people, just like you and I. Do you really think the "government" is better than you at handling your life? Why would anyone think that Congress, of all entities, is a better choice to manage and run your health and well-being. All of us, Democrat, Republican and "other", agree that Congress and Washington in general sucks. Why give them more taxes and tell them to fix the high cost of health care? When did the federal government EVER do a better job at something than private individuals and businesses? We just have to work on it a bit longer and get someone in there who's smart with BUSINESS, not government mangaement.

    August 27, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Cary -Lowell, IN

    I agree with the commenter from "coarsgold" that we must stop fighting amongst ourselves and look at right and wrong, not right and left when it comes to health care for all. I'd like to see a basic plan for every man woman and child, that covers wellness care and preventive doctors' visits. The money you pay for that coverage would be offset by a tax credit, so that you're not paying taxes above and beyond what you're paying for the medical policy. Isn't that kind of what Mitt Romney is saying here?

    August 27, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Since when is it a bad idea to have the federal government administer univeral health care coverage? Somehow the government has done okay with social security and medicare for more than 70 years. Why all the moaning and groaning over a plan for health care run by the government? I realize that many here think the federal government doesn't work because under the Bush adminstration NOTHING works. However, once he is gone and his pathetic and inept administration is history, maybe we can get back to real government that functions for the benefit of its citizens.

    Many states are already broke, because they have had to fund disasters normally handled by the federal government. Our infrastructure is crumbling, with bridges collapsing, New Orleans is still a disaster area and states have also had to bear the costs of the uninsured. Why put an albatross around their necks with this lame excuse for a health care plan from Romney? Trust a Republican every time to say, just let the states handle it, then everything will be just peachy. They only like big government when it comes to regulating things like a woman's right to choose, or when it comes to giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest two percent of the population or letting corporations run up huge profits while they steal their employees' pensions.

    Romney sounds much better suited to being a used car salesman than a candidate for president. I would take any plan from the Democratic candidates over this guy's half baked ideas.

    August 27, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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