Romney on health care: Then and now
March 23rd, 2012
12:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney on health care: Then and now

(CNN) - On the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Republican presidential candidates are turning up the heat on front-runner Mitt Romney, blasting the former Massachusetts governor for providing a "blueprint" they claim led to President Barack Obama's controversial health care reform.

Among the attacks, rivals point to an op-ed Romney wrote in 2009, in which he recommended the Bay State's health care plan as a model for the federal government.

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In the op-ed, Romney wrote "the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find" a "better way."

Romney essentially called on Obama to require Americans to buy insurance as part of the federal health care plan, imposing what Romney called "tax penalties" as a backstop.

Opponents use that argument to pin Romney as a supporter of individual mandates.

Romney made similar arguments in a 2009 interview with CNN's Jim Acosta, saying "there are number features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans."

He explained that the Massachusetts plan insured people "without a government option," though it did include a health insurance mandate, which some tea party Republicans find unappealing.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has especially pointed to Romney's 2009 op-ed in recent weeks and argues the former governor would be the weakest candidate to compete against Obama based on the issue.

On Friday, Santorum's campaign released a hard-hitting statement, saying "Romneycare = Obamacare" and leveled charges that Massachusetts now allows for "free taxpayer funded abortions" with co-pays starting at $50. Newt Gingrich's campaign has also attacked Romney over the abortion issue.

While Massachusetts does provide state assistance in abortion payments, the health care law that Romney signed in 2006 did not mention abortion coverage, according to PolitiFact. His campaign points out that an independent agency, the Commonwealth Connector, was responsible for developing criteria for state assistance on such matters, not the governor's office.

"Sen. Santorum is desperate to salvage his flailing campaign and all he can do is recycle widely-debunked claims," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement responding to Santorum's attacks Friday. "No matter how many false attacks he includes in his speeches, Rick Santorum cannot hide the fact that he is an economic lightweight who has zero job-creation experience."

Obama also referenced Romney's Massachusetts law this week, saying he designed the federal plan after the Bay State model and claimed Romney is "now pretending like he came up with something different."

On Friday, Romney penned another op-ed in USA Today, defending his actions as governor on health care and stating why he would repeal the federal law on his first day in office.

"President Obama's program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives," Romney wrote. "To the extent that we have any federal regulation, it should focus on helping markets work."

Romney has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that the Massachusetts law worked well for his state, but he would not impose federal health insurance requirements nationwide, instead leaving states to create and regulate their own programs.

"Most Americans want to get rid of the (Affordable Care Act), and we are among those Americans," Romney said. "I want to get rid of it, too."

Also see:

Romney primary tactics insufficient for general election, Gingrich says

Romney pens op-ed to mark 'Obamacare' anniversary

Santorum doesn't let up on Etch A Sketch attack

DeMint calls for GOP assessment of race, praises Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • Republicans • Rick Santorum
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. strangerq

    Romney didn't pass the healthcare law in Massachusetts – that was done by the legislature representing the people of Massachusetts. Romney did not stand in the way of what the people had chosen to do.


    Now Romney isn't responsible for Health Care reform in Massachusetts??????

    Keep shaking that ETCH – A – SKETCH.

    No matter how you shake it – it still looks like looooosssseeeerrrrr!

    March 23, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. strangerq

    Hey, tell them Obama does NOT want them to set themselves on fire and I'll bet GOPers will be pouring gasoline on themselves and lighting matches.....

    ^ Or they could just nominate etch-a-sketch Willard....same thing.

    March 23, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. anagram_kid

    Modest proposal wrote. “How about a compromise. We get rid of the individual mandate, but no longer require hospitals to treat those without insurance.”
    And what person gets the job of telling people that come go to hospitals, clinics, ERs… etc that they will not receive treatment? What happens when the person in question has a highly contagious but treatable disease? Do others get sick because he/she was not treated. Your idea is applicable only to elective treatments. The real solution is much more complicated, but would need to include Americans becoming more healthy (no more cigarettes and fast food) and health care becoming more efficient.

    March 23, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. strangerq

    When MA was at least 1 billion in the black, Romney introduced "Romneycare" (When MA could afford it).

    Nice try at a bad lie. But both RomneyCare and ObamaCare are based on the concept that the Mandate helps to *save* money and reduce public debt.

    If you believe this, then you have to support both. If you don't, then you shouldn't support either.

    Keep etch-a-sketching.

    Romney supporters are hilarious in their – try any argument – desperate hypocrisy.

    March 23, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. rep

    Try again, Mitt.

    The ACA also allows states to implement their own plans; the govt plan isn't strictly "mandated." The states just have to achieve the same coverage goals. I think most are just upset they can't think of a better way to meet that goal and denying coverage to large swaths of the population is their best option. Sad.

    March 23, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Damian X

    Romney was a horrible Governor in MA. And what a hypocrite! He made the Blue print for Obamacare! All the GOP candidates stink!

    March 23, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. strangerq

    . Federal mandateds health care is going away when the republicans take office.
    Actually the individual mandate was a GOP idea to begin with.

    Romney implemented it.
    Gingrich supported it.

    The SCOTUS will uphold it next month.

    And of course, Obama will be re-elected so the GOP is not going to repeal anything.

    The GOP is nothing but a bunch of hypocritical failures who repudiate their own ideas in order to win an election,
    and then lose the election anyway.

    If that ain't "loser", then what is?

    March 23, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. MikeRavens71

    there is a HUGE difference between a state mandate and federal mandate......the state's residents have direct control of its state government if is not running right and they can reform it or trash it as they see fit.....a federal mandate the people have no say and no control and its hard to trash it once it becomes law.

    March 23, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. talshar

    lf. I have no doubts that Gov. Romney is an intelligent person ....

    Maybe, but he thinks you're not.

    That's the real meaning of etch-a-sketch.

    Repudiate your own health care plan, and it won't matter because people are dumb.

    Or so Willard thinks.

    March 23, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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