On The View, Romney confronts health care issue
February 1st, 2011
12:22 PM ET
12 years ago

On The View, Romney confronts health care issue

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney made clear Tuesday he has an answer to critics who say the health care plan he enacted as governor of Massachusetts inspired the national law so fiercely opposed by Republicans.

In an interview on The View, Romney said his plan for Massachusetts – which like the national one mandates coverage – was never designed to be applied to other states.

"We addressed a problem in Massachusetts that was designed to solve problems for the people of Massachusetts," Romney during his appearance on the daytime talk show Tuesday. "But it is wrong and unconstitutional to take what is designed for one state and say we are going to apply that in every state."

"What we did will not work in Texas, will not work in California," the likely presidential candidate continued. "It is designed for the people of one state."

It's not the first time Romney has confronted the question of how he can square his fervent opposition to President Obama's health care plan when it bears striking similarities to the one he helped enact, but it is one the former presidential candidate will likely face again and again if he launches a presidential bid.

The comments come a day after top Obama aide David Axelrod needled Romney over the Massachusetts measure, saying, "We got some good ideas from him."

Meanwhile, Romney refused to say whether he had made a final decision about running for president but said his wife Ann is "full steam ahead" when it comes to the issue.

Filed under: 2012 • Healthcare • Mitt Romney
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Mev

    I can't believe how ignorant a lot of these comments are. YES, something can be unconstitutional federally, but not constitutional for a state. Constitutionality is not some mythical blessed state, it is a legal term based on a legal document called a (that's it) Constitution. The Federal government has one that it must abide by, and each state has one that they must abide by.

    Please know what you're talking about before throwing out nonsense like this.

    February 1, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Apparently GOPers who don't think it is important to require ALL citizens to acquire health insurance don't themselves have a problem when the uninsured end up in an Emergency Room for treatment? Or the astronomical costs associated with Emergency Room care for the uninsured as that cost is then passed down to those of us who DO pay monthly premiums for OUR health care costs ... in higher premiums and added costs to our own treatments? Or, are GOPers willing to simply continue to sink their heads deeper in the sand by thinking the uninsured never get sick, or ever require medical treatment?

    February 1, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. CF

    Some of the comments here are so staggeringly moronic, I have to wonder how some of you are even capable of feeding yourselves and tying your own shoes.

    The United States Constitution enumerates and places extremely strict limits on what powers the FEDERAL government can do. On the other hand, individual States have great liberty to enact laws and other regulations within their own jurisdiction. Read the following statement by James Madison, the author of the Constitution, very carefully:

    "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

    The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State"

    Whether you like it or not, the Health Care plan passed in Mass. is well within the law and bounds of the Constitution of the United States. The Health Care plan passed by Obama is not because the Federal Government does not have authority to force the entire Republic to buy Health Insurance.

    This is not that hard to understand people!

    February 1, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. lforlegend

    Interesting!! It's good for Massachutes but not for other "Americans," what a bunch of ......

    February 1, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Peace

    Mitt, if it was good for Mass. why not good to the rest of the nation??? And if you believe your decision the then was right, why is it wrong now????

    February 1, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    Whether it is "CONSTITUTIONAL" or not is the ISSUE – Mot whether or not it can work in ONE state or ANOTHER!!! I love the way the twisted mind works of the RepubliCAN'Ts.

    [Romney said his plan for Massachusetts ...was never designed to be applied to other states.]

    I thought Governors of a state's main duty is to SET EXAMPLES for others – Be PROUD of what they do hoping other states would follow – Run for President based on accomplishments you have achieved!!!! Give me a BREAK – FAKE!!!!

    February 1, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Oregon Calling

    I couldn't agree with you more CalifrorniaBC. I always thought that the states were where good ideas came from for ALL of our country. Did I miss something here?

    Peace 🙂

    February 1, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    '"But it is wrong and unconstitutional to take what is designed for one state and say we are going to apply that in every state."

    Do we really even have to listen to this sh-t? Seriously. It's "unconstitutional" to take something they did in one state and do it in every state? What kind of nonsense pseudo-legal argument is that? Captain Rogaine is just going to keep checking the focus-group-tested buzz words off of a list while saying nothing of substance in hopes he gets a sufficient number of the GOP base nodding their heads in time with the cadence of his drivel. Socialism blah blah unconstitutional yaddayadda states' rights booga booga free market derp derp derp....

    February 1, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. anotherGDlefty

    Then come up with a federal plan that covers all residents of America Mitt. If it CAN be done on a state level and you think it was a winner, why is this so hard?
    Oh I know why...because Mitt, you are just blowing smoke.

    February 1, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. JamesAquinas

    Here you go CalifBC:

    "Mr. Romney said he agreed with the federal judge in Florida who on Monday ruled a similar mandate in the federal health-care law runs afoul of the Constitution, and he sought to distinguish what he did as governor in Massachusetts and what President Barack Obama — his potential opponent — wants to do nationally.

    “States have rights that the federal government doesn’t have,” Mr. Romney told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “States have the rights to, for instance, mandate kids going to school, mandate auto insurance.”

    “The last thing you want to see is the federal government usurping the power of states,” Mr. Romney said, repeatedly calling the federal law “unconstitutional” and “a bad piece of legislation,” in part, because, in his eyes, it does just that. “What works in one state is not going to work somewhere else.”

    Mystery solved.

    February 1, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Corvettes of the USA

    Who drives this fool's train?

    February 1, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    So is his point that the individual mandate is Consitutional in Massachusetts, but somehow becomes unconstitutional when applied to other states?
    You don't understand what the Constitution is do you?! It is an enumeration of the powers that the people grant to the federal government. What is not granted to them is reserved for the people and states. Nothing in the Constitution grants the federal government the power for force an individual citizen to buy a product under the commerce clause. The Obama administration and the Democrats have perverted the intent of the commerce clause to further their progrssive cause.

    February 1, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. mike4ever

    What he really means that it worked in his state because he is white and he got it to passed. Obama is a miniorty and he got it to passed. That is the difference. Republicans don't want it to work because it would break their hold on the american people with the lie that only the white race know how to do something right. After all they have been ruining the country for years so why should a miniorty president come in and undo the damage they have done. That just wouldn't be right, now would it.

    People are afraid of change and it will fight it until they can't fight no longer. They have to grudgy go alone with progress but they don't like. By the time the next election rolls around the majority of the american people will have gotten used to the idea of having a miniorty for president and he will get reelected. Once they start reaping the benefits of things that have b een passed they are not going to stand around and let it be taken away from them.

    The president knew that it would take time for the american people to get adjusted to having a miniorty president and he just waited until all the angry was brought out. He knew the republicans would make a mistake and then did, the day they encourage the teaparties to protest against the president. As usually the republicans never think but reacts, they had no idea that all the negative things the teaparties did would cost them part of their seats in congress and now they will be in a war between each other. The republicans are now afraid of their own shadow and don't know how to get out of the fix they created. They will give it a good front for their followers but they know they are on the losing end. If they give in to the teaparties they will eventually lose all their base and if they give in to the president, they are still doom. They brought this on themselves all because they could not get the idea that there is a miniorty in the white house and nothing will go back to the old status quo of white only.

    All this may have been avoided if only they had spoken the reason that they did not want to work with the president and stop sweeping it under the rug to get bigger and bigger that now they don't know what to do. But they will never admit to the truth in public because they then will be found out and people will disown them for being used in their games.

    February 1, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Okay, if you believe it won't work over the whole country, where is your alternative? What would you do to get more people covered under some sort of medical insurance plan or way to get a regular medical review? That is important.

    February 1, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Rsprings

    It appears many of you do not understand the constitution and how it applies to states rights. There are two constitutions in play here. The state of Massachusetts–which may convey rights and obligations upon it citizens but cannot supecede the US Constitution. The US Constitution Conveys rights and obligations on Citizens of all states in the Republic as long as it follows the the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments authorized by the States. The situation here s the US Government has has over reached in tis application of the commerce clause. But here is the REAL problem. The Democrats said to the American public open wide and shoved it down our throats. Had they been more bipartisan on the front end we would not be where we are today.

    February 1, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Indy

    Thank goodness there will never, ever be a a person that go's by the name President Mitts. He is the biggest flip flopper in the entire country and does the exact opposite of what good and honourable mormons do on a daily basis.

    February 1, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. DS

    I can't believe I'm forced to defend Mitt's position here, but apparently the majority of commenters failed basic government. The federal government is a government with enumerated, limited powers. Those powers not given to the federal government are retained by the states. So, it's entirely possible that a federal mandate is unconstitutional but a state mandate is constitutional.

    This isn't written in support of Mitt. He's on record as liking mandates, including a national mandate, so his defense of the state mandate now is insincere at best, but it has to be pointed out that the argument itself is defensible. The fact that people can't distinguish between Mitt changing positions, which he has, and the argument he is using, which is at least in theory supported by a very basic understanding of federalism, is depressing.

    February 1, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Abe Vigoda

    "Most programs need to stay limited to a local region. State sovereignty is HUGELY important, because it allows people to live the way they feel is best for their area and demographics. Romney is saying that his health bill is appropriate and fine for his state, according to the voters, but not necessarily fine for other states".wsome001

    "A state can makes mandates upon its citizens. States mandate schooling for children, auto insurance, etc. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to make a similar mandate on the entire country."Lauren

    Well stated, both of you! The right of a state is the center most important part to the freedoms of the people! What works in one state (MA) may not work in others, or the country as a whole. The Governments of the the states are unified in law by the Federal Government. Not to tell the state what it can or can't do, but to work together on common causes like whether to go to war... or place protective measures on forgiegn goods, etc.
    Over the years, as the Federal Government attempts to "improve the quality of life" for the people of this country by giving reasons not to work or prosper, more States rights have been taken. Drinking ages and speed limits are state mandates, but if youwant fed funding you have to conform...the more you give the more you will lose!
    Mitt will run... and Mitt will WIN! He will not pick a no name for VP. If, as we know, the change in Washington can not come from within the belt way... it must come from outside!

    February 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    I say take away the mandate and let the upper 2%, folks like Mitt, pay the ones who don't have health insurance when they flood the ER. You people realize just WHO is going to be paying for them don't you.? The same folks always crying about their tax payer dollars going to "illegals" and "welfare folks" on food stamps are the first in line that want to repeal HC reform. LOL go figure.

    February 1, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Chumlee

    Romney – go crawl in a hole – you are a disgusting liar, who flip flops more than old man McCain

    February 1, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. GoC


    Most of the health care bill empowers states to keep health care costs down by giving power to state attorney generals to regulate price increases. It also gives states money to expand their state run Medicare programs. In addition states are to design the online markets subsidized by the plans. The mandate is one of the only parts controlled by the federal government. If you are worried about federal control look at the Republican plan. They want to take away the states rights to regulate the insurance industry and have it controlled federally which would allow insurance to be more portable. Republicans want federal control not Democrats.

    February 1, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. ConfusedinPA

    Reminds me of how our country once believed that slavery was a state issue.

    And why doesn't anyone ever talk about why the individual mandate exists ... its for the insurance companies, so they can have money to provide for all the sick people they can no longer just drop from their coverage when the bills start piling up.

    February 1, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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