The day before Mitt Romney’s big speech on health care policy, which seems unlikely to solve his problems, the former Massachusetts governor is being hit with more blasts from his past.
For example, Romney didn’t just support an individual health care mandate in his own statewide plan, he also endorsed the 1994 Chafee plan, which of course included a mandate.
ROMNEY: I’m a federalist. I don’t believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances…. Now, I happen to like what we did. I think it’s a good model for other states. Maybe not every state but most, and so what I’d do at the federal level is give every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government as well as some carrots and sticks to actually get all their citizens insured. And I think a lot of states will choose what we did. I wouldn’t tell them they have to do our plan…
MR. RUSSERT: So if a state chose a mandate, it wouldn’t bother you?
MR. ROMNEY: I’d think it’s a terrific idea. I think you’re going to find when it’s all said and done, after all these states that are the laboratories of democracy, get their chance to try their own plans, but those who follow the path that we pursued will find it’s the best path, and we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.
As it turns out, Romney’s prediction was accurate, though I don’t imagine he’ll be bragging about this anytime soon.
In fairness, of course, Romney continues to argue that his defense of mandates referred to state-based policies. But there’s no reason to think Republican primary voters make the distinction, and Romney’s pitch still boils down to, “That radical, communistic, freedom-killing health care policy you hate so intensely? Don’t worry, I only support that at the state level.”