August 24th, 2007
05:09 PM ET
15 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. travis

    Romney is the only candidate with any credibility on this issue. The best part of his plan is that it fosters innovation at the state level. But I'm sure all the lawyers running on the democrat ticket won't like it...

    August 24, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Jeffrey, Little Rock, AR

    This guy is starting to sound more and more like RON PAUL. How funny

    August 24, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. David, Salinas, CA

    This is the perfect Romney plan. It allow him to say one thing in New Hampshire and another in Iowa.

    Maybe he should call it PanderCare.

    August 24, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. Mark, Rio de Janeiro


    We would save billions by doing so and everyone would be able to afford health care.

    August 24, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. David, Los Angeles, CA

    I'm voting for Hillary, but I quite frankly don't see anything wrong with Romney's plan. I think it's a grand idea, practical, and Constitutional to boot. Hopefully, even once he loses the election he'll keep advocating towards this end (Romney:health care as Gore:global warming?)

    This way, all the anti-health care red staters can continue to suffer, be sick, and get ruined by mercenary health insurance companies in the name of free markets and tiny government, while the rest of us can do what's necessary to protect the lives and well-being of our sick children and aging elderly.

    August 24, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |


    August 24, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Louis, PDX

    This report is so poorly written it is amazing. Maybe you should hire me; I have a basic grasp of syntax and conjugation.

    August 24, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. J Findlay

    Did you mean 'merciless' companies?

    A single payor system will be the death to health care quality in the U.S. (which has, despite UN reports, one of the best systems in the world, when measured soley on QUALITY). Only market solutions will work, starting with deregulating insurance companies on the state level.

    August 24, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Paul, North Attleboro, MA

    Romney does not have credibility on any issue, unless flip-flopping is considered an issue. This sleaze will say anything to get elected.

    August 24, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. John, Chicago IL

    Romney's plan makes a lot sense for those of us who care for and treat the sick. You're going to see a lot of physicians support Romney. Good job Romney.

    August 24, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. xtina chicago IL

    Havent had time to see details of Gov. Romney's plan, but I do like the idea of choice. Everybody wants a choice. I also like the states having sovreignty in some areas, as they do in abortion, state income tax, state sales tax, etc.

    The federal government is too inefficient and just too big to handle the operations and bureaucracy of yet another department.

    August 24, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Steve - Peoria, IL

    This totally makes sense to let the states decide.

    I don't think it's a good idea to hand the health care system over to the same government that has failed so badly with the borders, Katrina, Homeland Security, and Walter Reed Hospital.

    August 24, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. blake columbus oh.

    We really need to get the price of medicine and hospital care and doctors' visits lowered.

    But when you have a problem, you don't automatically hand it over to the US government, do you? When I think of the federal government, I think of wasted tax money (Congress), bungled operations (FEMA, Veterans' Affairs) and big big bureaucracies (the IRS ). Why would anyone want something as important as their health taken over by the government?!

    August 24, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. richard v.- ny ny

    Can anyone point to a federal – level department or operation that is run well, is financially efficient and solvent and that people think provides high quality, customer-oriented service? Isn't that what you want for your health care– to be personal?

    I like Mitt Romney's idea for each state to decide. The national health care thing sounds like a big waste o' money waiting to happen.

    August 24, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. j.d. - albany, ny

    Mitt Romney makes perfect sense. One state may not want universal health care but it may work for another state. Don't force the national government health care thing on me, but let the individual people decide by putting it to referendum.

    August 24, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. xtina chicago IL

    I really don't think the federal dept of health, or whatever it would be called would be BETTER than private organizations because federal services do not have employees who are working to compete for customers; they have no incentive to put out their best effort. Im not saying federal employees are not hard-working. Im just saying that some are not motivated to excel because they have pretty good unions and job security. The thought of someone who works for the federal govt taking care of me is a scary thought. I would opt for private even if others vote for this national health care service.

    August 24, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. KD, Dallas, TX

    I really like what I hear about what Massachusetts has been able to implement with health care. It's too bad we cannot require all states to take a look at some kind of model for health care. Romney is a Republican, I am a registered Democrat, but I am listening Mitt. We need a drastic overhaul when it comes to medical care. I work for public education, love my job, but God forbid if I were to get sick I would lose everything. Our medical benefits are horrible in education, and the pay is not all that great either. I cannot see getting out of a profession that inspires me though because of medical benefits. I just pray that nothing drastic happens to me. I also think it's very wrong for insurance companies to deny treatment. Since when did helping others become a profit situation. Healthcare should be a given for all of us, not just the ones who are financially at the top.

    August 24, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. Joshua Davis

    How will deregulation change any rates? It will only lead to more people (likely in lower income brackets) being cheated. And for states that have price control regulations I assure you that Romney's plan will raise your insurance costs.

    August 24, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  19. Mike, NY

    I generally agree with the belief that government should get out of healthcare all together, but if we are unfortunate enough to have Romney on the Republican ticket, this will definitely help him get my vote. It may not be the ideal way to do healthcare, but I find it preferable to some of the Democrats' proposals.

    August 24, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. marti, phila.

    If you go to a hospital and you're sick, you get treated. Now, let's say Person A hasn't used her insurance in two years, but she's paying several hundred dollars anyway. Along comes Person B, who gets in a motorcycle wreck and receives $60,000 in free health care because HE DOESN'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. As a matter of public policy, it's reasonable to require all Americans to have a basic amount of health insurance, just as it's resonable to require every driver to have auto insurance.

    August 24, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Josh

    It's simple: Get the Government out of our lives. Vote Ron Paul '08!

    August 24, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  22. Ron Nebraska

    So now do we wait awhile for Mitts' next plan that directly contradicts this one?

    August 24, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  23. Roy Swonger

    It doesn't matter whether a health care plan is labeled "federalist," "universal," or "free market": any plan that fails to address the cost side of the equation is doomed to fail.

    August 24, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. Nick, Urbana IL

    Doctor Ron Paul has more credibility than Mitt Romney on the issue of health care. Dr. Paul has been in the medical field for decades while Mitt Romney is becoming a career politician.

    Rudy Giuliani is good on health care, too.

    August 25, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  25. Erin, Chicago, Illinois

    Buy more insurance? In America?
    Senator Romney cannot be serious.
    American insurance companies must be some of the worst in the world, most notably since they literally find ways not to pay out claims.
    His "solution" puts a bandaid on gapping wound, and would only line the pockets of insurance companies, most of whom are absolutely, utterly useless.
    Fantastic idea coming from a millionaire.

    August 25, 2007 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
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