Mitt Romney has really been busy shaking that Etch-A-Sketch regarding his position on health care reform. The problem isn’t simply that Romney flip-flops, but that he repeatedly will tell any audience what he thinks they want to hear, regardless of whether he has said the opposite in the past–or on the same day.
Mitt Romney’s previous position was that he will repeal all of Obamacare. Possibly due to fear over falling behind in the polls following the conventions, Mitt Romney tried to moderate his view on Meet the Press yesterday:
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their– their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.
Now he was supporting a magical program which can’t exist in the real world. In order for insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, there either must be a mandate or other strong provisions to ensure that large numbers of healthy people do obtain insurance, as opposed to waiting to buy insurance until they become sick.
Romney’s conservative supporters would have nothing to do with such an idea, so later in the day Romney told the National Review what they wanted to hear. His coverage for those with pre-existing conditions would only apply to those who already have insurance, providing far less of a guarantee of coverage than is present in the Affordable Care Act. He also backed away from the extension of health care coverage to older children, only suggesting the market would provide such options. Coverage would not be guaranteed as in the Affordable Care Act. According to a Romney aide:
“in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”
We already have a private insurance market, but it is not offering such plans.
Romney flip-flopped again Sunday evening but in the end he seemed to return to the conservative views reported by National Review. Of course, considering that he had taken four different positions in one day, it is not clear as to what Romney’s position is. It does not appear to really provide health care coverage to young people or to those with pre-existing conditions as the Affordable Care Act does.