Romney's health care mandate included tax penalty
June 29th, 2012
12:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney's health care mandate included tax penalty

Washington (CNN) - Republicans are seizing on the individual mandate's penalty in the newly upheld health care law as proof President Obama broke his promise not to raise taxes on middle class Americans.

In the Supreme Court ruling on the law, Chief Justice John Roberts said the penalty on Americans who opt against buying health insurance is actually a tax, therefore making the individual mandate constitutional. Congress, Roberts reasoned, has the authority to assess taxes.

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As it turns out the tax penalty in the president's health care law was modeled after the reform plan passed in Massachusetts under then governor Mitt Romney.

In a 2009 interview with CNN, Romney explained how the Massachusetts health care mandate worked. If the state's residents decided to forgo health insurance when they could afford it, Romney said they would face the loss of a tax exemption. In other words, they would be assessed a tax.

"There are a number of ways to encourage people to get insurance and what we did, we said 'you're going to lose a tax exemption if you don't have insurance,'" Romney told CNN in the interview.

The former Massachusetts governor said the mandate was necessary to achieve universal coverage in the state.

In order to qualify for the tax exemption, Romney added " gotta have health insurance because we want everybody in the system. No more free riders."

During the interview Romney held up his health care law as a model that "could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans."

Since then, Romney has said repeatedly his plan was meant for Massachusetts only.

Video of Romney's statements on the Massachusetts health care law can be seen here.

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Also see:

Obama campaign to opponents: Move past health care fight

Fund-raising flurry after Supreme Court ruling

Romney reacts to health care ruling, renews repeal pledge

Obama: Supreme Court decision is a 'victory'

Filed under: Health care • Mitt Romney
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. anthony78

    oh the Rightwing hypocrisy...

    Just remember, its not right, unless a Republican does it, otherwise its an attack on our liberties and freedoms, and a step towards socialism.

    June 29, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Sooooooooo... now that Obama's signature piece of legislation has been upheld by the Supreme Court, I would expect he would run some campaign ads touting his accomplishment. Right? Let's see if he does.

    June 29, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Anyone familiar with Romney's term as governor knows that he hiked taxes andfees on everything that moved, from hunting licenses to a gas retailer's tax. His healthcare plan included a virtually idential penalty to the one that was written into the ACA. Any attempt to portray Romney's program as different is a waste of time. His attacks refelct how shallow and disingenuous Romney really is.

    June 29, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Indy

    Hilarious to watch Republicans cry because free loaders of health care services will be assessed a penalty, Republicans these days do not even know what they stand for. If you repeal Obamacare you have to repeal Romneycare,I wonder how Romney is going to handle that one.

    June 29, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Chumlee

    Mittens needs a new job. His lies are starting to come back more rapidly than ever and kick him in his backside.

    What a lying piece of you know what Romney is. Come on voters, wake up to this total jerk who keeps tripping over
    his continuing lies.

    June 29, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. anagram_kid

    Cal wrote, “…at least half of the country does not want it.”

    Until you actually poll every person that statement is not provable.

    I can honestly state that I do not know a single person that wants to have coverage denied/dropped when they need the service they have already paid for. I don’t know a single person who thinks having children stay on their parent’s coverage is a bad thing. I don’t know a single person that thinks premiums should go to CEO pay and lobbyist fees instead of providing the service they paid for. I don’t know a single person who thinks denying coverage due to a preexisting condition is a good thing. I don’t know a single person who has an issue with purchasing something they know they will need that could very well prevent them from going bankrupt and oh, might save their life.

    June 29, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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