Challenged by President Obama during Wednesday’s debate in Denver over how he would find insurance for the sick after repealing the Affordable Care Act, Mitt Romney asserted that he had a plan for those with pre-existing conditions.
“Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan,” he said. “Young people are able to stay on their family plan. That is already offered in the private marketplace. You do not need the government to mandate that.”
He charged Obama with turning to “an unelected board who will decide what kind of treatment you ought to have,” a reference to an independent panel of experts created by the ACA tasked with controlling overall Medicare costs, but not individual patients’ treatments.
The only problem: Romney has made that guaranteed issue claim before, only to repeatedly have his campaign clarify that his unnamed plan for health care reform would not allow people with pre-existing condition to obtain insurance. It would only allow them to maintain continuous insurance, for example if they lose their job, something that is already in the law but often prohibitively expensive with employer subsidies. As recently as last month Romney’s campaign confirmed his policy stance.
“That is already the law,” Obama said. “That does not help millions of people out there with pre-existing conditions.
Obama went on to charge Romney with deliberately hiding his plans to repeal and replace not just the ACA but other major laws in order to keep unpalatable consequences from voters.
“He says he will close deductions and loopholes for his tax plan: we do not know the details,” he said. “He says that he is going to replace Dodd-Frank, Wall Street reform, but we do not know exactly which ones — he will not tell us. He now says he will replace Obamacare and ensure all the good things and it will be in there and you do not have to worry.”
He added: “At some point the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason Governor Romney is keeping all of these plans to replace secret because they are too good?”
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.