DNC hits Romney on individual mandate
March 9th, 2012
08:58 AM ET
11 years ago

DNC hits Romney on individual mandate

(CNN) – National Democrats continued to hit Mitt Romney Friday, releasing a web video criticizing the GOP presidential candidate for changing positions on government requirements to purchase health insurance.

The video is the latest in a series of hits on Romney from the Democratic National Committee, which has focused almost exclusively on the former Massachusetts governor in the lead-up to November's general election fight against President Barack Obama.

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Called "Say Anything," the video splices together clips of Romney explaining the health care plan which passed when he was governor of the Bay State, a measure that included an "individual mandate" requiring citizens to purchase health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act passed by a Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by Obama in 2010 has a similar provision.

Romney, the front-runner in the race for GOP nomination, has been criticized by his Republican rivals for pushing the law in Massachusetts that required citizens to obtain insurance, saying the mandate restricts individuals' right to make their own health insurance decisions. Romney has responded that he never intended the Massachusetts law to be adopted nationwide.

In the DNC video released Friday, Democrats attempt to paint Romney as a flip-flopper on the issue, presenting him at various points saying he opposes a federal individual mandate, while using tape from older interviews that suggests he's changed his position.

"Mitt Romney condemns the individual mandate on the campaign trail. Is that the position he's always had?" the video asks.

Clips of Romney in 2011 and 2012 show the candidate saying he "opposed the idea of a federal mandate from the very beginning," and that he would never take "what we had done for one state and impose it on the entire nation."

Earlier clips of Romney portray a different picture, as when he said the Massachusetts law "could be a model for the nation."

He is shown in a 2008 GOP presidential debate saying "I like mandates. If somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way, as opposed to expect government to pay their way. That's an American principle."

The video ends with the proclamation: "Mitt Romney against individual mandates except when he's for them."

DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement: "Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected. Throughout this primary campaign, Romney has tried to rewrite history about his health care record, telling conservative audiences that he never supported an individual mandate at the national level, only at the state level. Unfortunately, he can’t run from the truth – Mitt Romney has repeatedly expressed support for a national individual health care mandate, based on the model he established in Massachusetts."

Responding to the DNC, Mitt Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said Democrats were attempting to distract from Obama's own record.

“President Obama and his allies are desperate to distract from his failed record, so they are continuing their strategy to ‘kill Romney,'" Saul said. "If they spent half as much time trying to create jobs as they do spreading falsehoods about Mitt Romney, there might be fewer than 23 million Americans struggling for work. Obamacare is bad policy, it’s bad law and Mitt Romney will repeal it. On health care, what’s important is that states retain the ability to pursue their own solutions, not have one imposed on them by Washington.”

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Filed under: 2012 • DNC • Health care • Mitt Romney
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Drew


    Did you watch the video? There is video footage of Romney openly supporting a plan to institute an individual mandate at the national level. There are other clips of him saying that he supports something like that. He didn't come out AGAINST mandates on a national level until 2010, when he started talking about running for president again.

    March 9, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Anonymous

    "resident Obama and the dems have an individual mandate that gives the government an unfair advantage over private insurers."

    Thanks for proving you have no clue what the ACA is about. There is nothing in it "over" private insurers. ACA kept private insurers in place AND increased their market. This is why many Americans say they don't like ACA. Not because of the mandate but because it didn't go far enough and include things like a public option.

    March 9, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Anantha

    A ridiculous argument that people keep having. It was for a state of Massachussets that the governor has kept mentioning and not necessarily for the country. Did anyone pay attention to the governors victory in Massachussets with a whoppping 72% of the votes. Do people rationalize their opinions

    March 9, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. Jess C

    Mittens....he writes his own ads against himself just by being who he is....a major flip-flopping lying politician who panders to whatever audience he wears his jeans for. No thanks! He couldn't even be man enough to take a stand against that pig, Limbaugh; how would he ever deal with a foreign dictator? Again, no thanks.

    March 9, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    @Ray E. (Georgia), it seems as though you think the world began in January 2009. Who was in charge of Congress from 1993 to 2007? Who occupied the White House from 2001 to 2009? How can you claim that the GOP had nothing to do with those millions of underwater mortgages and the people who have been forced to go on food stamps are there solely due to the President? What is your alternative to the Great Society
    programs? Private insurance through an individual mandate? Those programs have kept millions of people above the poverty line, or do you prefer the old alternative for the Southern states, to give the poor a one-way bus ticket north? Typical rightie, long on complaints but blind to the truth.

    March 9, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. judy

    flip flop flip flop Obama 2012

    March 9, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Wake up people

    Some people don't care whether he flip flops or lie. They have only one goal and that is to get the President out of office, and that has been their goal since the day after the election in 2008. They will never give him credit for anything and have continually blocked every move he tried to make. People think this country has changed but not enough in my book. All some see is color. I pray everyday for our President because I truly don't trust some of these people.

    God bless you President Obama!

    March 9, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. diridi


    March 9, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Heather K.

    If this criminal is the nominee, the G.O.P. can count my vote out FOREVER! I will turn my back on the party for them turning their back on the troops! The troops have spoke loud and clear! Ron Paul 2012!

    March 9, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Ray E. (Georgia) wrote:

    ....The Federal Government has no business in the Medical Business. The U.S. constutition gives the Congress no power to require the citizen to buy Health Care! .....
    I agree with you. The Federal government has no business in the medical business. But, it was forced into it because of the conservative resistance to regulations on the health insurance carriers. Carriers would drop seniors when they reached a certain age, or took ill. No carriers would pick up a senior. How do you solve that problem?

    1. Do nothing, and let seniors fend for themselves.
    2. Stop health insurers from dropping people, or turning them away for loosely defined "pre-existing" conditions.
    3. Start a giant government program to provide health insurance to those cast aside by the insurance industry.
    4. [ insert your solution here ]

    BTW, the whole argument about individual mandates being unconstitutional is just an altruistic talking point to cover up the real objection the insurance industry has to the Affordable Care Act. The insurance industry actually *likes* the individual mandate because he means millions and millions of new paying customers. Haven't you noticed they don't complain about mandated auto insurance?

    Health insurers do not like the coverage mandates imposed upon the health insurance industry. They want to continue dropping people. They want to continue turning people away. But, they cannot complain about that. So they made up an altruistic sounding argument, and a lot of people have bought into the idea, despite the fact that it was originally a conservative idea.

    March 9, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    BTW, the government already makes you go out purchase stuff. They make you go buy some clothes and wear them.

    March 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Anthony


    I am talking about his position right now. I know that Romney said in 2009 that his Massachusetts plan could serve as a model for the nation. Now he is trying to be against Obama's plan while not disowning his own plan, and they are basically the same thing. So Romney is in an untenable position of being for individual mandate and against it at the same time. This is even worse than flip-flopping. He is on both sides of the issue at the same time.

    March 9, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. The REAL Truth

    I don't care that Mitt is flip-flopping on health care. This is not news for any of us. The real problem is he's coming out against his own plan (and the healthcare measure that MOST Republicans voted FOR when passed by Congress BTW). Because we have an election year – the Insurance lobby is pushing hard for repeal as it will cut into their profits and are funneling $$ to the GOP – the "spin" being put on it by the GOP candidates is ridiculous. Yet more fear-mongering.

    March 9, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Marry

    Drew, thank you for clarifying that!
    Actually, many people wanted an individual mandate – and of cause, it makes sense. But what is going to be different is that it puts limits on what the Insurance Companies can do to rip the people off, like taking the premiums but dropping them as soon as they get “sick” or not get in with a “preexisting condition”. Thank you Mr. President!

    March 9, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    What the insurance companies dislike the most are the ceilings being placed on top executive pay and bonuses. There is no justifiable cause for a health insurance executive at a publicly traded company to be pulling down a 7 digit annual salary, and 8 digit annual "performance" bonuses.

    March 9, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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