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. Gurgyl

    Now this guy is changing his tune--what a Flip-Flop!!!!!'

    June 29, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Jesus Christ Superstar

    What? Romney was for something, but now he's against it??? Are you sure we're both talking about the same Mitt Romney???

    June 29, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. teena

    I think the republicans hate the law because they have branded it "Obama care". I fhte democrats were smart they would start calling it "National Romneycare or US Romney care" and then the republicans might like it!

    June 29, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Bill

    Americans won a great "Victory" yesterday. Our President is about the people in this country who are sick,childrens health, and for the human "Right to be healthy,instead of Corporations and CEO,s making Billion on Profit!!!! Vote out these Republican corrupt Politicians in 2012! Obama-Biden 2012! Demo Majority in Congress 2012!!!!

    June 29, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. TomInRochNY

    So, what is he going to replace it with? Haven't heard anything yet.

    June 29, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Harry From Pa

    Another case of the pot calling the kettle black. Lol I'm starting to wonder if his campaign is going to implode.... I mean come on Mitt Romney, out of all the people you had to pick from you had to pick the Republican poser who is the most liberal governor out there..... this is too funny.

    June 29, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Linda

    Whether you TAX the people of your state or Tax the people of this's all the let's see Romney back peddle on this one.....this tax will be on only the people who can afford medical insurance but won't buy it, but they will use the ER as their free clinic and let us pay their bills for them, so these freeloaders should be TAXED.....Romney says he will REPEAL Obamacare on day one, but doesn't release plans as to whether he will let all these millions be dropped or not......Just remember his own words "I'M NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE POOR" and that is exactly right he doesn't care if all of those children who now have healthcare will continue to be covered.....but he can release how much money he says he has raised in the last couple of days since the Supreme Courts decision.....The Republicans will have to win the White House, and take majority in the Senate and keep the majority in the House to be able to repeal this Healthcare and that ain't going to happen.......

    June 29, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It also includes funding abortions. Where is the right wingnut teavangelical outrage?

    June 29, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Like he said. He was for it until he was against it.

    June 29, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney is on record on tape and an op-ed piece stating how he felt that the MA law would be a good model for a national health care reform policy. He cynically recommended the MA model to the Obama administration, knowing that Democrats and liberals had always opposed mandates, especially Pres. Obama.

    During the 2008 campaign, Sen. Obama made it clear that he was opposed to mandates and penalties, which distinguished his health care plan from that of then Sen. Hillary Clinton. And then Pres. Obama adopts the model. Mitt Romney even put the administration in touch with the same people tha the used to craft the MA law. Romney helped them to design it, but not actually write it.

    June 29, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Curt

    I just hope people begin to see Romney for what he truly is, a bold faced liar. He will say whatever he thinks is necessary to become President. Of course my favorite is when he will never answer a question about how he will do things. His favorite response is " I'd do it differently than Obama. Sad that the Republicans could not find anyone half decent to run for President other than Romney and all those other morons that were in the race.

    June 29, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Jon

    Police power belongs to the states. Nothing to see here.

    June 29, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Steve- Illinois

    Romney has stated over, and over, and over, that his health care law was designed for Massachusetts!!! If one size fits all, then all states should have the exact same laws?

    June 29, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Romneycare = Tax = End of story

    Those who are referring to the mid-term election seem to forget that Obama did not run against Rmoney, the tax master.

    June 29, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. NYIndependent Voter

    Can you please explain to me again what exactly are the diferrences between the Obamacare and the Romneycare?

    June 29, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Simple Obama Care = Romney care

    Obama care survived that is it ,Now Romney won’t repeal and he can’t

    June 29, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Cal

    But the loons in that state wanted intrusive government healthcare and he gave it to them – at least half of the country does not want it. Also he did not go around and state this is not a tax for over 6 months like the Supreme Chancellor. Another words Romney did not openly lie at every speech.

    June 29, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. dafs

    It's not socialism when a republican does it.

    Romney is now going around, promising to "work to repeal it" if elected, yet at the same time claiming he's going to keep several provisions of the ACA in place. He's also claiming he's going to replace mandates with discretionary refundable tax credits for the 50 million uninsured to purchase insurance.

    Vote Romney and get 95% of Obamacare, haha

    June 29, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Bill, NY

    If you pay taxes, you cannot ignore the fact that you pay for the uninsured. Hospitals by law cannot refuse treatment to anyone whether they have insurance or not. Visit emergency rooms around the country and you will find them FILLED with the uninsured. Who pays for this? We the taxpayers do! The republicans don't like the fact that they are losing another source of shakedown money(lobbying).

    June 29, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. amlcpamaine

    the only penalty that really counts here is that assessed in Massachusetts on the health ins carriers under the state law (now covering 98% of citizens). The law requires health insurers to spend at least 88% of premium money on medical care, not on lobbying or marketing. They missed the mark and now must REBATE $57 million to individuals and small businesses. It's the law! And the national law that Romney now hates so much has a provision requiring at least 85% be spent on medical care. Is it any wonder that the GOP and the lobbyists hate this?? Would they ever tell you this? Romney signed the Mass act but notice how much he tells us about the responsible part – nada.

    June 29, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. rs

    The GOP is either psychotic, or incredibly hypocritical. By any measure "Romneycare" has been a success (97% coverage!), yet they lie now and call it a failure- crazy talk. The truth is it worked in Mass. it will work to the benefit of Americans. Does the GOP think it can spin taking health care away from Americans (albeit not rich ones) is a GOOD thing?

    June 29, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Obamacare = Obama cares about the young, elderly, poor and disabled.

    Romney added " gotta have health insurance because we want everybody in the system. No more free riders."

    And the GOP is still pushing this Brook's Brother empty suit as the man to go against President Obama?

    Too bad the GOP is all "free riders"!

    June 29, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. ted

    more flip flopping by Mitt the weathervane. amazing how many ideas have started with the Repukelicans. this healthcare plan, fast and furious. All credit to the GOP. Stop blaming the Dems for these ideas, GOP.

    June 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Winning

    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."

    June 29, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Investment Advisor

    C'mon Gurgyl...As if your guy hasn't "flip flopped" on various issues?!?! How about a better arguement that has substance?

    June 29, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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