Mitt Romney has long maintained that he’d never impose his Massachusetts health care law on the nation, no matter how great he thinks it is, but now he’s warning states against enacting it themselves.
Romney’s latest remarks came after a question from the Washington Examiner’s Byron York in an editorial meeting, who asked how many other states should adopt the law.
“In its entirety, not very many,” Romney replied. “Because it’s not even perfect for Massachusetts. At the time we created it, I vetoed several measures and said these, I think, are mistakes, and you in Massachusetts will find you have to correct them over time. But that’s the nature of a piece of legislation of this nature. You’ll see what works, what doesn’t, and you’ll make the changes. But they have not made those changes, and in some cases they made things worse. So I wouldn’t encourage any state to adopt it in total.”
While Romney has criticized aspects of his health care law, he’s fiercely defended its overall utility and refers to it as one of his proudest achievements. He has also talked his plan up as a blueprint for other states in the past even as he’s maintained that it’s up to them to decide whether to follow his lead.
“Given the kind of differences between states, I’m not somebody who’s going to say what I did in Massachusetts I’m going to now tell every state they have to do it in the same way,” Romney said in an oft-quoted Meet The Press appearance in 2007. “Now, I happen to like what we did. I think it’s a good model for other states. Maybe not every state, but most.”
Asked about that quote on Wednesday, Romney at first denied having said it.
“I don’t think I said ‘most,’” he told the Examiner. After being informed he did on Meet The Press, he replied “Oh did I? Did I make that exaggeration?” and laughed, according to the transcript.
Romney volunteered to the Examiner that some “principles” from the law still should apply, for example the use of exchanges where individuals could purchase their own insurance, a key plank of he federal health care reform law.
“For the long term for the country, its very wise for people to be able to own their own insurance,” Romney said, “as opposed to having it purchased for them by their employer.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.