Mitt Romney hits back
May 13th, 2011
02:34 PM ET
10 years ago

Mitt Romney hits back

(CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lashed out at the Wall Street Journal in an open letter Friday, written in response to a scathing editorial published Thursday that criticized health care reform he led in the state.

"I was not surprised to read yet another editorial in the Journal yesterday criticizing the health-care reforms we enacted in Massachusetts," he wrote. "I was, however, not expecting the distortions of what we accomplished."

Romney took aim at the critique's claim that the financial burden of those who wouldn't buy insurance but could afford it –whom he called free-riders in a Thursday speech– wasn't so big.

"As a state we were spending almost $1 billion on free care for the uninsured," he said, explaining the transition of those funds into "premium support for those who needed help buying a policy."

And under his plan, Romney stated that those who could afford to buy coverage were "required to take personal responsibility for their own health care," also a theme in his recent speech.

Though he acknowledged the fact that Massachusetts' insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation, he hedged that political liability by claiming "a truer statement" is that getting everyone insured will not bring health care costs down.

Romney also took issue with the claim that state spending on health care has skyrocketed in Massachusetts, arguing instead that the cost is "relatively modest" and "well within projections."

The potential presidential candidate who sought the GOP nomination in 2008 has a lot at stake in the health care debate since critics tie his Massachusetts plan with health care reform ushered in by the Obama administration. Romney sought to sever those ties in his speech on health care delivered at the Cardiovascular Center on the campus of the University of Michigan, as well as in the parting shot of his letter.

"While I have had my disagreements with the Journal's editorial board, where we find common ground is on the need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with reforms that empower states to craft their own solutions," he said.

Filed under: 2012 • Health care
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Oooooooh – so scared. Hope he didn't muss his pretty hair in the scuffle.

    May 13, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. jim

    " ... he wrote. "I was, however, not expecting the distortions of what we accomplished." ... "

    yeah. like "death panels" just for starters. it's time conservatives accept facts.

    May 13, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Though he acknowledged the fact that Massachusetts' insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation, .

    Romney also took issue with the claim that state spending on health care has skyrocketed in Massachusetts,
    Do you think there is a connection there? State pays for insurance and higher rates. What do you think? The insurance companies are collecting more money (state-wide) to cover roughly the same number people.

    May 13, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Name king

    Lesson there is no way you can have universal health insurance without some sort of a mandate. You talk about buying across state lines, to create competition, but big insurance will crush these smaller markets, like they've been doing for ages, and still bring up premiums. The problem is the poor and the sick will be kicked to the curve. Look on how big oil companies do it to control oil prices, these folks are not rookies, furthermore they've got the repugs to justify, their actions and blame obama as they rape the American people.

    May 13, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Steve Oehmen

    Mitty – I really believe your only chance (as many have proposed) is to go ahead and embrace your record. Embrace it with a proud smile. Not only is it your only chance, but you may be surprised by how many independents might look upon you much more kindly. You do not need and cannot win with the relatively small proportion of people for whom this would be a show-stopper. They are EXACTLY the same people who will not vote for you in any case because of your faith. You don't need them. You can't win with them.

    May 13, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Politicians are Angels and Teachers are now Devils according to the gospel of GOP Tea Party

    Mitt Romney...always flip floper on the issues!

    this dufus was for Health Care reform before he was against it!!!!

    MAN UP, MITT!!!...this is just the begining of attacks you are going to get from the RIGHT wing NUTs paper-tigers before you get knocked out by the Dems!!!

    May 13, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Politicians are Angels and Teachers are now Devils according to the gospel of GOP Tea Party

    pretty boi, thou proetest too much!!! – MAN UP!!!!!

    May 13, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Jake

    i think he may be a Democrat!

    May 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Ken, AZ

    Sorry Mitt, but you can't run from this. What you did in Mass. was right but you didn't go far enough. Had you included a public option to compete with the insurance industry or a single-payer system, insurance costs would be a lot lower. And, if you leave health care reform to the individual states,very poor states like Mississippi and Alabama, only the well-to-do will have access to health care.

    May 13, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. FM

    Doesn't Romney have closer Advisers to advise him, that he is not going to make with the Health Care he did in Mass. surrounded his neck. There is no way he can get out of it. As simple as that!

    May 13, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Steve

    Poor Mitt, he tries to do the man-thing and show the voters he is a tough guy, but appears a wuss. Maybe its the haircut.

    May 13, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    Sorry Mittens, ask Gov. Perry about states off on their own....

    May 13, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Mitch, when someone throws a rock at you and breaks your metaphorical glass window, you should throw at least a brick back, upside their metaphorical head.

    May 13, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. ABM

    The HRA is not the boogeyman. The GOP pundits who opposed it are. The debate is done and the law is passed. This is something the American people wanted and they should have worked together with the Dems- PERIOD. What Roomney is saying in defense is total crap. The Feds should set the tone so the states have a framework – leaving it to the states only creates a mess of red tape and little room for consistency.

    May 13, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Minnesotan

    I'd vote for Romney's hair, but not Romney himself.

    May 13, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Only Mitt Romney can win independents votes GOP do the math

    May 13, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    Isn't the WSJ owned by the same right wing owner of FoxNews?? If this was that evil liberal paper the New York Times maybe ol' Mitty could blow it off but for a conservative paper to call him out on something might be of merit.

    May 13, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. th

    What happens when the people who can afford to buy insurance don't because they think they won't need it and then something happens. Are they going to want the government to pay for their hospital bills. This will cost more than if everyone who can afford to buy it did so they can go in and prevent a more serious illness.

    May 13, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Dale

    True story: My mother worked as a nurse, taking care of patients and paying into her health insurance for 20 years. Then she got breast cancer and her insurance company promptly dropped her. They basically told her to go home and die. Their strategy was to delay the legal fight until she died. Friends and family helped with her bills while she fought them in court, at the same time she was going through chemo, etc. She won both fights, thankfully. She told me that the insurance company caused her more stress than the prospect of dying. I sincerely thank Obama and the Democrats for making the insurance company's action of dropping her illegal. And I am appalled at the Republican party for fighting this law in the past and for wanting to repeal it now. The Republican party is as cold, unethical and inhuman as the insurance companies that they work for.

    May 13, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Jack in Florida

    I like Mitt.......he's not as conservative as he wants everyone to believe. Mitt, be proud of your accomplishments in MA and be the "middle of the road" republican that we all know you are. Don't cowtow to the republican right.....they have got it all wrong.

    May 13, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Dang it Romney, couldn't you have at least vetoed it and forced the Democrats controlling the Mass legislature to overirde your veto? This IS a major issue with a lot of people. But it should tell the rest of the field that the key to victory is to RUN AGAINST OBAMACARE and promise to repeal it. It will guarantee the end of the Obama error, I mean era.

    May 13, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Dale

    "empower states to craft their own solutions" or in other words, people in poor states can die.

    May 13, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Larry

    It's a breath of fresh air to actually see a republican candidate speaking at a university that provides a quality education. Romney's running mates seem to talk at small, unknown religious schools (reference Colorado Christian), where support will be nearly 100%. Romney speaking at Michigan shows something.

    May 13, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. ConservaFASCISTS

    Stop running away from Romneycare. It's your biggest accomplishment Mitt. You have no backbone whatsoever.

    May 13, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Paul Abeln

    Mr. Romney, what exactly did you expect form the WSJ? Being owned by News Corp (our friends who own FOX News) means you get the Glenn Beck treatment. You probably love it when FOX News and the WSJ blast Democrats with outright falsehoods, but when you are on the receiving end, probably not so much. Unfortunately, the WSJ ain't what it used to be. Now it is just another mouthpiece of FOX News, neither fair nor balanced. The WSJ has become just another right-wing rag that reinforces falsehoods in an attempt to make the rich richer–and it appears to be working quite well. My brother-in-law actualy believes things he reads in the WSJ. Sorry, no credibility here.

    May 13, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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