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. Rick McDaniel

    Romney is not being honest. Much of the health care he was responsible for, centered on the uninsured, and of course, by definition, that included illegal immigrants.

    The big problem with illegal immigrants, is that no administration has really done anything to curtail the growth in illegal immigration, for decades, so now.......the problem is totally out of control.

    October 24, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. westward

    @easydoesit – According to Bush's own treasury dept. head, Bush's 2 UNFUNDED wars, his deficit-producing prescription plan, and his tax breaks ... all implemented for over 10 years, make up more than HALF OF OUR CURRENT DEFICIT of $14T. And this does not even include the trillions spent to shore up our economy after the financial collapse in '08. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to do that math. And what's alarming is that Mitt Romney wants to implement the same exact policies that caused this perfect storm to begin with.

    October 24, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. gmh

    Google Mark Pauly.......He is the Republican Conservative Economist that presented the Individual Mandate to George Bush Sr. It's about time you folks realize that the Health Care bill is really a watered down version of the 1993 Republican health care proposal. Romney Health Care in his state is practically the same bill as Obama's .....Romney can talk around it all day long but the present day bill is his idea and is a Republican idea. Wanting to get rid of it is strictly political.
    Also, Google Health Care Bill eliminates subsidies............

    October 24, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair
    So let's see... if Obamacare is the same as Romneycare, was Joe Wilson really wrong after all?
    First of all, "Obamacare" is a scary monster that doesn't exist. The "Affordable Care Act" does exist, and it does not go as far as "RomneyCare" in MA.

    If you prefer to put your fate in the hands of a "death panel" at a private insurance company, be my guest. We already know how that story ends. It ends with you being dropped, or you being dead. Either way, you lose and the private insurance company *always* wins.

    October 24, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. ralph malph

    Not a Romney fan or supporter, but I can't hate him for "having a heart." I'm sure Governor Perry will agree!

    October 24, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. S.positive

    President Obama will win in Nov 2012

    October 24, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. diridi

    flip-flop....not for me...not for Americans....flip-flop....Obama2012.

    October 24, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. ST


    "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."

    I think it is you who have to read the article again (Para 2).
    Gov. Deval Patrick did not amend the law. He just executed it the way it has been since Romney signed it.

    October 24, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    As I stated before Rick Perry will be the (r) nominee.

    More and more people are finding out real fast – Romney has no stance on anything and because he has already obtained a mass fortune the only thing he wants now is power and that lies in the WH. Say NO to Willard Romney in 2012.

    October 24, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. jacqd

    Love seeing the rethugs implode.hilarious

    October 24, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. The Shepard

    Exactly why Ron Paul is getting my vote. If any of these other idiots get in, I'm surely not voting. Aren't people tired of the same old idiot liars who only care about illegal immigrants and themselves rather than the people who pay them?

    October 24, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. gmh

    The Obama administration passed the bill knowing it was not in anyway perfect. Changes need to be made.
    Corporate American does not want to be in the health care provider business. It takes from their profits. Over the past 30 years we have seen a withdrawing of health care benifits. Remember when an employer paid for all of you and your families health care. Then came, we will pay yours but not your family. Then co-pays etc, etc. Wal-mart just pulled back on health care for some of it's employees. Not wanting to pay health care benefits has been goal of the business community for years. Again, it takes away from their profits. As profits sore for corporate business the less we get. Not right............Support those candidates who want a strong business environment but will also ask something for it's workforce. We are their workforce and we buy their products.

    October 24, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. jacq

    Nike flip flops or Adidas?

    October 24, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Herman Cain is NO Collin Powell, but He is a Teabagging Black token to BOOT

    Romney will blame everybody but himself!

    So when is Mor(M)onRomney going to start taking he going to blame someone else as well for shipping jobs overseas while he was the CEO @ Baines Capital and posing in pics with dolllar bill$$$?!!

    October 24, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Lolo

    These rep/tper are really lost. We all know what their agenda is. Everything is the liberal media says this and that. It is not the liberal media. People know how to do research for themselves. What the true American people see so far is that the republican/tea partiers care about no one. They are trying to stop people from voting, putting more people in the poor house, and concentrating on making our current president a one termer. We also see that they will pick any clown to defeat President Obama. Now tell me who cares about America more. Yote Democrat across the board if you want to save America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 24, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Portland tony

    My God....A rush to disavow the heart of Christianity. Charity towards those less fortunate, Let the poor die in the streets. Keep the immigrants out of hospitals. Let the sick ones rot and spread disease to un vaccinated American children. I might add Mr.Romney: Is this the Mormon way? If it is sir, you are no Christian!

    October 24, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Corporations R. People II

    Willard! Say it isn't so....
    Poor stretch: "I'm running for office" as his cover-up for lawngate, going hands-on with Richard Parry, speed up those foreclosures for the sake of the investors, proposing an indefinite occupation of Iraq despite the sovereign nation wanting otherwise, an infrastructure plan that looks like (wait for it) Obama's, and now Romneycare the Return. Get it together Willard, you're better than that....stop flopping when flipping is required and vice versa.

    October 24, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. annie s

    Thank God for "liberals" like Gov. Patrick who put humanity ahead of politics.

    October 24, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. The Elephant In The Room

    For god`s sake Mitt, MAN UP once in your miserable flip-flopping life.

    Your administration crafted the bill & YOU SIGNED the legislation, not Deval Patrick.

    I`m sure Patrick is sitting around saying, "How did I get drawn into Romney`s mess?!"

    October 24, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Ferret out the B.S.

    It's all about damage control and that's all it's ever been about for all of the candidates. The fact is that people coming over from other countries is so huge and pervasive that no one is not affected by their presence, unless you live in a cave. It is human migration the likes of which we have never seen, to escape horrible conditions from where they come from. For any candidate to pander to a group that claims to have christian values and mores and then turn around and deny health and education is not a christain nor even something close to being a caring human being.

    October 24, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Robert

    Okay, so Perry just pointed and said:

    "Yeah!! He does it too! I give them college money, he saves their lives!!!".

    Great, get rid of them both! No votes for you two!!!

    October 24, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Laverne

    He has to run from his record, he is running for POTUS. Just like he claimed he finally fired illegal yard workers "I can't have illegals working for me, I am running for public office" This guy is a slimebag period!

    October 24, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Jake

    I have to admit, the idea of who he actually is as a candidate has become very confusing!

    October 24, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. thomas

    Romney will never take responsibility !

    Why didn't any of his five sons volunteer for military service ?

    @Fair is Fair !

    October 24, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Cogito

    What about Springfield declaring itself a "sanctuary city" while the Governor's Office did absolutely nothing about it?
    That happened on your watch Mitt...
    What's your lame, pathetic, blame-shifting, flip-flopping excuse for that?

    October 24, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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