Mitt Romney is trying to convince the American people that he does not support a federal individual health care mandate—even though an individual mandate was a fundamental component of his own Massachusetts health care law. That 2006 law was one of the models for the Affordable Care Act, the law President Obama signed two years ago to bring more people into the health care system and end insurance companies’ discriminatory practices.
But Romney insists that he has “opposed the idea of a federal mandate from the beginning” and that “the last thing” he’d ever do would be “to take what we had done for one state and impose it on the entire nation.”
As is often the case with Romney, he had the opposite view just a few years ago. Here are just a few of the many times Romney said he was for the individual mandate at a national level:
In 2007, Romney praised his Massachusetts health care law as a model for the nation.
In a 2009 USA Today op-ed, Romney praised the Massachusetts individual mandate as a plan that “encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others” and it “doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.”
That same year, he told House Republicans that they “should be first to propose a Republican plan to bring health insurance to all Americans” and use his Massachusetts law as “a good model to start from.”
During the national health care debate, Romney praised the “similarities” between President Obama’s plan and the Massachusetts plan. “Some of the best features of his health care plan are like ours—such as, we do not allow insurance companies to drop people who develop illnesses, our insurance is entirely portable, virtually all of our citizens are insured and there is an individual responsibility for getting insurance.”
In trying to contrast his views with the President’s during the debate, he said he preferred the Wyden-Bennet bill as “a very good health care plan.” The Wyden-Bennet Bill actually includes an individual mandate to buy coverage. [Source: Meet the Press, 6/28/09]
When he had the chance to back off his support for a national individual mandate during a debate in the 2008 GOP presidential primary, he instead insisted, “I like mandates.” He added: “If people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else.” [Source: ABC Debate,1/5/08]
In 2011, he praised the health care mandate as “fundamentally a conservative principle,” adding “I’m happy to stand by the things that I believe.”
The Democratic National Committee has released a video highlighting Romney’s attempts to rewrite his own history on his support for an individual mandate. Take a look, then share it with your friends.