Today Mitt Romney says he is for the full repeal of “Obamacare.” And he’s created a tightly woven explanation of just how his reform in Massachusetts differs from President Obama’s national plan. As Romney now tells it, his approach was always different in kind from President Obama’s, especially because the president’s plan imposed a mandate nationwide. There was never a point, even going back to his days as Governor, when he would have supported Obama’s approach.
But a year and a half ago, that was far from clear. Then Romney was one of those Republicans who called for keeping the ‘good’ parts of the president’s plan while ditching the bad. And now a video has surfaced in which Romney makes clear that one of those ‘good’ similarities was the mandate which is now the centerpiece of conservative opposition to the plan.
Courtesy of the wily Andrew Kaczynski, here’s Romney explaining in April 2010 that he hopes to keep the “similarities” between his plan and Obamacare, including the “incentive for people to become insured” (i.e., the health care mandate) and federal law’s prohibition on preexisting condition discrimination.
Today, Romney’s campaign website calls on “Congress to fully repeal Obamacare.”
Here’s some TPM reporting on Romney’s April, 2010 view from way back before the midterms. The key “difference” Romney spoke of then and now was the requirement that states participate in Obamacare. Romney has said he wouldn’t impose a health care plan on the nation, preferring to let them do what they think is best.
This video is the kind of thing that Romney’s Republican opponents probably wish they had found in their opposition research files months ago — Romney positioning himself well to the left of the repeal-it-all crowd. That crowd now runs the Republican party, and talk of reforming Obamacare rather than scrapping it entirely is anathema.
The rhetoric was not just limited to the appearance Kaczynski resurfaced Monday. The Washington Examiner noted Romney’s PAC promised to “to support conservative candidates who will repeal the worst aspects of Obamacare” in 2010. Romney also reportedly told a conservative blogger in April, 2010 that he wanted to keep the mandate part and the ban on denying people coverage because they’re already sick.
Romney’s evolution from the person who imposed the first health insurance mandate as governor of Massachusetts to presidential candidate who calls for repealing the entire law is now a little better understood. Between the passage of the president’s health care reform law and his eventual call to repeal the law entirely, there was an intermediate period when Romney was calling for a reform of the law which would apparently leave the mandate or something very much like it intact.
The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to questions about how Romney feels today about preexisting conditions.