FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Multiple Choice Mitt’s Changing Colors on Romneycare
April 12, 2006 is a day that will live on in infamy. That was the day that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed his signature socialized healthcare bill into law with Ted Kennedy standing over his shoulder. It was the first time in American history that government of any sort compelled its citizenry to purchase health insurance. It served as the catalyst for an individual mandate on a federal level, paving the road for Obamacare.
At the time, John Kerry heaped accolades on Romney, ominously suggesting that “we really need to be doing that on the national level.” Ted Kennedy praised it as “just what the doctor ordered,” and observed that we “may well have fired a shot heard round the world.” It took less than four years for the shot to metastasize into a bombardment – one that will permanently attenuate our free-enterprise economy.
So how did Romney feel about his signature accomplishment of an otherwise uninspiring one-term tenure as governor?
At the time of its passage, Romney dubbed it as a “once in a generation” achievement. He referred to his magnum opus, which created subsidies for government run exchanges (larger than those created under Obamacare), as a “landmark” achievement “to get all of our citizens insurance without some new government-mandated takeover.”
From Romney’s perspective, did he consider final passage of MassCare a meritorious ideal or a mediocre compromise watered down by the Democrat legislature?
Well, immediately after he signed the bill into law, he told Newsweek reporter Jennifer Barrett that “the final legislation incorporates about 95 percent of my original proposal.”
At the time, did Romney feel that the framework for his healthcare plan was a virtuous policy endeavor for the rest of the nation?
On the day he signed the bill, he put out a press release quoting then-Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson (who, by the way, must be defeated in Wisconsin) saying, “Massachusetts is showing us a better way, one I hope policy makers in Statehouses and Congress will follow to build a healthier and stronger America.”
Being that Romneycare was Mitt’s “landmark” and “once in a generation” accomplishment, you would have expected him to tout it incessantly during his presidential campaign later that year and in 2007. Instead, Romneycare became the best kept secret of his presidential campaign.
As the crushing costs of Romneycare –both to the public and private sector – became evident, and as Romney began to court conservative voters opposing McCain, he placed his signature accomplishment in the Mittness Protection Program. Not only did he decline to offer it as a national solution, Romney never spoke about MassCare unless prodded by conservative figures. When pressed about the vices of his healthcare bill, Romney would summarily dismiss them as problems stemming from Democrat provisions in the bill – unspecified aspects that he supposedly opposed. In January 2007, at the beginning of the presidential campaign, he told a group of National Romney
Review Online supporters that “we believed we’d get everybody insured in an economic way, but I don’t know what is going to happen down the road as the Democrats get their hands on it.”
Romney often cast doubts as to the future success of his plan as a result of the “Democrat legislature.” In Feb. 2007, he told a crowd in Baltimore “if Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation. If not, other states that are copying aspects of Massachusetts’ [plan] will find a better way, and then we can copy them.”
Well, the facts are in. Romneycare has failed to control costs, and has dramatically raised the price of health insurance on everyone. Nevertheless, Mitt Romney denies the facts and continues to view his signature legislation as a success. He has repeatedly asserted that 92% of Massachussets residents are unaffected by Romneycare. Yet, he has consistently and vehemently declined to endorse a similar plan on a national level. What happened to his conviction that ” if Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation?”
In 2006, while he was Governor, Romneycare was a “once in a generation” accomplishment that should be mimicked on a national level. In 2007, while running to the right of McCain, it was a dirty skeleton in the closet that was exacerbated by Democrat sabotage. Now it is a resounding success….but only on a state level. God forbid it to be even entertained on a national level.
So which one is it, Mitt?
This is what we have to look forward to from Democrats in the general election: