Romney’s Prior Support For the Individual Mandate

Elephants might never forget, but Republicans depend upon inconvenient facts being forgotten. Often it works. They had significant victories in 2008 due to voters who were upset about the economy forgetting which party screwed up the economy. Many conservatives continue to claim that John Kerry never released his war records or that Barack Obama had not released his standard birth certificate despite their release on the internet. I bet some will even have “forgotten” that Barack Obama ever released the long form of his birth certificate by next month.

Republicans now oppose “ObamaCare” hoping that voters forget that it is essentially the old Republican counter-proposal to “HillaryCare.” Republicans sure would not want voters to remember that they were originally the ones supporting the equivalent of exchanges, comparative effectiveness research, end of life counseling (now labeled “death panels”), and the individual mandate.

Mitt Romney has the greatest difficulty among Republicans in attacking health care reform as the plan which passed is very similar to his plan as Governor of Massachusetts. In the past Romney has tried to distance himself from Obama’s plan with the rather weak argument that the individual mandate is okay at the state level but not at the federal level. Possibly such a reference to states’ rights might convince some conservatives, but I doubt  very many.

It is now looking even worse for Romney as it has been discovered that he supported an individual mandate while running for the Senate in 1994:

See, in 1993, then-Senator John Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, floated a health care bill that was supposed to be an alternative to the Clinton administration’s proposal.  It never really went anywhere, but it did garner 20 co-sponsors in the Senate, including a couple of Democrats (Boren of AR and Kerrey of NE).  And a key feature of that bill was that, if it passed, the bad ol’ federal government would have required every American (with the usual hardship etc. exceptions) to purchase health insurance.

Subtitle F: Universal Coverage – Requires each citizen or lawful permanent resident to be covered under a qualified health plan or equivalent health care program by January 1, 2005.

Pretty straightforward, right?  And yes, at least according to Kaiser Health News, this provision of Chafee’s bill was indistinguishable from President Obama’s plan.

In an interview with The New Republic published in the  November 7, 1994 issue, Romney stated would have voted for Chafee’s proposal, which included the individual mandate, despite not being wild about it.

Of course Mitt Romney supported a lot of things back in 1994 which he no longer supports in pander to the far right, as can be seen in this clip of him debating Ted Kennedy.


Quote of the Day

“In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden President Obama’s approval rating jumped to 56 percent, his highest in two years. Which shows there is literally nothing he can do to please the other 44 percent.” –Seth Meyers