Romney blames successor for illegal immigrant health care
October 24th, 2011
11:51 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney blames successor for illegal immigrant health care

(CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's GOP presidential campaign is pushing back against a Los Angeles Times article that could prove troublesome.

"Medical help for illegal immigrants could haunt Mitt Romney" reads the headline Monday's edition of the newspaper. The story details a program in the 2006 Massachusetts health care plan (which then Gov. Romney signed into law) called Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented illegal immigrants to obtain needed medical care along with other people in the state who lack insurance.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the program cost more than $400 million last year and paid for 1.1 million hospital and clinic visits, but it's not certain how many illegal immigrants received treatment since Massachusetts does not record such data.

The Romney campaign was quick to react to the article, and to criticize Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick, who succeeded Romney.

"Federal law requires emergency medical care for illegal immigrants. And if illegal immigrants are getting access to additional healthcare in Massachusetts, it's liberal Gov. Deval Patrick that has made it easier for them to do so. All of the regulatory activities involving the Health Safety Net Fund, including who could get care, were made long after Mitt Romney left office," said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul.

In a statement, Patrick's spokesman said the law wasn't about immigration.

"The Health Safety Net fund, which was created by Massachusetts health care reform, reimburses hospitals and community health centers for medically necessary care provided to people unable to pay for it. It is not about immigration," Brendan Ryan said. "It is about good public policy and making access to health care universal for all members of our community."

The Massachusetts health care law, which critics dub as "Romneycare," has come under attack from Romney's rivals for the GOP nomination as the inspiration for the national health care law pushed by President Barack Obama and passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress, a measure that conservatives hope to repeal.

In last week's CNN/Western Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, Romney was also criticized by Texas Gov. Rick Perry over the issue of illegal immigration, when Perry brought back to life a story from the last presidential cycle, during Romney's first bid for the White House. In an angry exchange between the two candidates, Romney admitted that a landscaping company he hired years earlier for work on his Massachusetts home did employ illegal immigrants, but he said he fired the company when he found out.

The Romney campaign is defending the former governor's record on the issue, and criticizing Perry, who has come under attack by his rivals for the passage of a state law that gives in-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities to some children of illegal immigrants.

"Mitt Romney's record on illegal immigration is clear: as governor, he vetoed an in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants and authorized his state troopers to detain people based on their immigration status. On the other hand, liberal Gov. Patrick has the same position on illegal immigration as Rick Perry – he favors in-state tuition and reversed an executive order to detain illegal immigrants – and neither can be trusted to deal with such an important issue," added Saul.

A couple of hours after the Romney campaign statement, the Perry campaign weighed in.

"Governor Romney's government-mandated health care plan provided free care for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts, establishing just the kind of illegal immigration magnet Governor Romney claims to oppose," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "Program rules established by the Romney Administration in 2004 clearly state that citizenship is not required for free health care and subsidies and health centers cannot consider citizenship before rendering that free care."

"When faced with the illegal immigrant benefits this morning, the Romney campaign tried to deny indisputable facts and to cover their tracks by blaming Gov. Patrick," added Miner. "The truth is Gov. Romney's plan intended to provide free health care to illegal immigrants, and the law and rules he approved were clear about providing free health care to illegal immigrants."

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Bill

    You can run, but can not hide from your record, Mittens.

    October 24, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. aj

    Mitt, you can't outrun your track record, your flip-flops, and your lies. They will be your downfall.

    October 24, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Thinker

    Look, this guy has had to defend himself so many times, and it's still a long ways until primary season. I do not understand how ANYONE could trust him! If you're honest and open you won't have to defend your actions; your record will stand on its own.

    Ron Paul 2012?

    October 24, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. Independent from NH

    Liberal nonsense from a nonsense liberal news outlet, the LA Times. Amazing how much work, time, and money they probably put into this "investigative" report only for Romney to brush it aside with facts. Interesting how facts consistently become a non-issue for the media, both left and right. It is all about sensationalism and fraud, not about objectivity and honesty.

    October 24, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens is the first to blame everyone else for his failed leadership. He is such a typical republican. Romberg takes no responsibility for his actions, or his disasterous governorship with no job creation.

    October 24, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. CJG

    Always blame the one before even if it was under his admin.that he signed it and supported it , unless it is Obama and that is different , it is okay to blame the 8 yrs of deficiet spending under Bush all on 2 1/2 yrs of Obama . Even if he is knocked down every step of the way to do this GOP congress. Rather see a Dem fail than help their country. If the repub. gets in , just watch this congress lighten up and turn into a party of yes ,vs no. All for political gain , forget the middle class and what would help the people . All these candidates make me self centered and false.

    October 24, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Al-NY,NY

    Mittens is getting hit from all sides. Lets see how long he keeps his cool until he shows his dark side (like at the debate)

    October 24, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. really???

    Whoopsy! I thought we were not allowed to blame someone else...oh yeah, that's right only the republicans can do that.
    All of the candidates are like the new SNL cast or something, hey, when Obama wins again, you could take your act on the road you could call it Mitt and the Freaks of Comedy Tour, you should make a few dollars to let people laugh at you...oh, the tour started already? where can I get tickets?

    October 24, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    ...Federal law requires emergency medical care for illegal immigrants. And if illegal immigrants are getting access to additional healthcare in Massachusetts, it's liberal Gov. Deval Patrick that has made it easier for them to do so....
    This is typical conservative Republican spin and disinformation. The above statement makes absolutely no factual sense. Listen to what it says, or tries to say and failes miserably.

    – Federal law requires *blah*, which is why the conservative implemented it.
    – Blame the fact that *blah* exists as law today on your liberal successor.

    Can you hear the grand hypocrisy and gross contradictions in those words?

    October 24, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Mass. is a democratic bastion of liberal insanity. California and New York pale in comparison. Occasionally they come to their senses and elect a Republican here and there but the sanity is soon overcome by the liberal disease most have. Neither Romney nor anybody else could have or can save them from themselves.

    October 24, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Ed Latey

    Illegal! What does that mean? If something is illegal is that not breaking the Law? What good are laws if we do not inforce the laws? There is no gray area! Illegal is Illegal! Facts are Facts. We can not afford 4 more years of this P*R*E*S*I*D*E*N*T

    October 24, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. A Repulbican

    Unbelievable! Forget these guys, I wouldn't trust them to mow my lawn. After it's all said it done how could either of these repub candidates beat Obama in the general election. Obama is going to eat these guys for breakfast, lunch, dinner and put therm where he put palin and mccain today, on the sidelines showing how bad sore losers they are complaining everyday on tv.

    October 24, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Now in addition to flip flopping and pandering, Mittens can add "passing the buck" to his Presidential resume.

    October 24, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Wyatt

    Romney's record proves he is a firm defender of America's laws and a wise guardian of MA taxpayer money. He will gut our bloated federal government and make the USA the top job creator in the world. He will also pull our bankrupt necks out of the Chinese noose.

    Are you looking for work? Underemployed? Fearful that your job is next on the chopping block? Up to your eye balls in credit card bills? Savings vanished?

    Support the guy who really knows how to turn around America.

    Support Mitt Romney.

    October 24, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. westward

    Romney's background in both the public and private sector is a fluffed up joke. He is an outsourcing job-destroyer who had no control over his other political agenda, which he clearly lies about on a regular basis to soften up the real truth.

    Guess what, Mitt, we know what you've been doing. And we don't like it.

    October 24, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. easydoesit

    Are youbpeople serious deficit spending under Obama has increased to the highest level in history and now he wants to spend anothe half billion. The president has continually blamed Bush for everything under the sun he should star to take some of the heat.

    October 24, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    So let's see... if Obamacare is the same as Romneycare, was Joe Wilson really wrong after all?

    October 24, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. mcd

    Did anyone here read the article? Or just the headline? Check your facts – this happened after he left office & Patrick took over. Dislike Romney if you want, but at least get your facts straight.

    October 24, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Bill

    If Romney's HealCare plan didn't stop illegals from getting covered, how can he blame the present Governor? We all know that Gov. Patrick does favor the illegals but as for the Health Care, he's just following Romney's plan that was already in place. Afterall, Romney knew that those illegals that were cutting his grass and painting his house in Belmont would eventually need some kind of health care.

    October 24, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. CaliforniaBC

    I STILL want to hear some VERY concrete reasons for why the Right is so against the Affordabel Care Act. Besides the individual mandate (which was a REPUBLICAN Heritage Foundation idea) what is it the Right hates so much??

    It's not socialism.

    It's NOT government take over of health care.

    It DOES NOT add to the debt but actually reduces it.

    It expands access to basic health care for millions who do not have it.

    All their complaints about it are easily debunked and have been for quite some time.

    WHAT do they hate so much about it??

    October 24, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. nshee

    It's amazing to what extent people will turn to in order to find SOMETHING against him. Nice try. It's comforting to see people are looking, but they can't really find ANYTHING. Mitt 2012

    October 24, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Erik S.

    Oh, ok, now healthcare for illegals is bad, even though the pandering for the past few years has been saying it's good. I find it funny coming out of a paper from L.A. Romney beats Obama easy.

    October 24, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Democrat Class Warfare – wrote:
    Mass. is a democratic bastion of liberal insanity.
    Then I guess Texas is a texbook example of conservative ideology at work. Texas is near dead last in environmental protection, people with health care, people living in poverty, graduating teens with high school diplomas, average incomes, birth death rates, state executions, state unemployment, annual state deficit, and more.

    But, those rich folks down in Texas are living large and doing very well. Believe me when I tell you.

    October 24, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Massachusetts is essentially a sanctuary STATE under the current Democrat "leadership". Why do you think all of Obama's illegal alien relatives live here??? Where is all the reporting ON THAT??!!!

    October 24, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. IDEAS and IDEALS not ideologies

    Why is he running from his record? It is actually better than all the other candidates. He's in a Catch 22 -trying to win the Primaries and lose the General Elections. He can't win by distancing himself from many of his most impressive accomplishments. Romney is just about the only mainstream candidate in the race for the GOP.

    October 24, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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