Mitt Romney on Health Care

Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent


Shift Medicaid to states, plus inflation, plus 1%

OBAMA: Shifting Medicaid to states [means] potentially a 30% cut in Medicaid over time.

ROMNEY: I would like to take the Medicaid dollars that go to states and say, you're going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1%, and then you're going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best. One of the magnificent things about this country is the whole idea that states are the laboratories of democracy. Don't have the federal government tell everybody what kind of training programs they have to have and what kind of Medicaid they have to have. Let states do this.

OBAMA: Governors are creative. But they're not creative enough to make up for 30% of revenue on something like Medicaid. What ends up happening is some people end up not getting help.

ROMNEY: If a state gets in trouble, well, we can step in and see if we can find a way to help them. The right approach is one which relies on the brilliance of our people and states, not the federal government.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

Restore $716B in Medicare cuts

OBAMA: in Medicare, what we did was we said, we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long-term deficits, but to do that, let's look where some of the money's going. $716 billion we were able to save from the Medicare program by no longer overpaying insurance companies by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers. And using that money, we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600, and we were also able to make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money throughout the system.

ROMNEY: That's $1 for every $15 you've cut. They're smart enough to know that's not a good trade. I want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into Medicare. By the way, we can include a prescription program if we need to improve it. But the idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of ObamaCare is, in my opinion, a mistake.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

No change to near-retirees; Medicare vouchers for young

Q: You don't support Medicare vouchers?

OBAMA: I don't.

ROMNEY: Again, that's for future people, not for current retirees.

OBAMA: In fairness, what Gov. Romney has now said is he'll maintain traditional Medicare alongside it. But those insurance companies are pretty clever at figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors. They recruit them, leaving the older, sicker seniors in Medicare. And the traditional Medicare system will collapse.

ROMNEY: What I support is no change for current retirees and near-retirees to Medicare. And the president supports taking $716 billion out of that program.

Q: And what about the vouchers?

ROMNEY: For people coming along that are young, what I do to make sure that we can keep Medicare in place for them is to allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan. Their choice.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

Give young people a choice of Medicare or private insurer

OBAMA: Vouchers wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation; it would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year.

ROMNEY: For people coming along that are young, allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan. Their choice. They get to choose--and they'll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. So they don't have to pay additional money, no additional $6,000. That's not going to happen. And if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare or they'll be able to get a private plan. I know my own view is I'd rather have a private plan. I'd just as soon not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get. I'd rather be able to have an insurance company. If I don't like them, I can get rid of them.

OBAMA: Medicare has lower administrative costs than private insurance; private insurers have to make a profit.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

Develop countermeasures for global pandemics

Q: What steps should the US take to protect our population from emerging diseases, global pandemics and/or deliberate biological attacks?

A: Pandemics are not new--they have happened at different points throughout human history. And it is a certainty that, at some point in the future, they will happen again. Fortunately, America today is better prepared than ever to face a pandemic. In part, this is because researchers are learning so much more about infectious diseases, how they work, and how they spread. Unfortunately, globalization has enabled the spread of these diseases much more rapidly. To further improve preparedness, we must continue to invest in the best public health monitoring systems that can be built. I will also encourage advancements in research and manufacturing to increase scientific understanding of new pathogens. The development of new countermeasures, from diagnostics to antivirals, will help protect human lives in the face of new bugs and superbugs.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Preventive vaccines require robust R&D enterprises

Q: What actions would you support to enforce vaccinations in the interest of public health?

A: The first priority must be to ensure that America has adequate supplies of safe and effective vaccines. Making vaccines requires complex facilities and highly skilled workers, which means that America must continue to strengthen its advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Second, preventing outbreaks of these diseases also requires that these vaccines are used effectively. The vaccines only work to prevent outbreaks when a sufficient number of people are protected from the diseases and thus able to stop a bug from spreading from one person to the next.

Finally, America must have a robust research and development enterprise capable of constantly improving on the tools available to prevent these diseases. That means taking steps to ensure that America remains the most attractive place to develop and commercialize innovative, life-saving products like vaccines.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Official portrait had 2 symbols: his wife, & healthcare

In 2008, for Romney's official portrait, he had been clear about the image he wanted to convey for posterity. He would be sitting on his desk in front of an American flag, next to symbols of two things he held dear. The first was a photo of his wife, the center of his personal universe. The second was the Massachusetts health care law, represented by an official-looking document with a caduceus--often used as a symbol of the medical profession--embossed in gold on the cover. Romney was deeply proud of the law and felt strongly that it should figure prominently in the portrait, which would hang alongside others dating back to the Colonial era. He wanted to be remembered for that.

Romney hoped the revolution in health care that he, more than anyone, had driven in to law would redound to his benefit as a presidential candidate. Who else on the Republican side had tried to do anything as difficult or ambitious--much less gotten it done?

Source: The Real Romney, by Kranish & Helman, p.261-262 , Jan 17, 2012

On choosing providers: "I like being able to fire people"

Mitt Romney today touted his early "entry level" job trying to work his way up. But it was a comment he made in the final minutes--"I like being able to fire people"--that is sure to provide further ammunition for his opponents to cast him as a wealthy, out-of-touch executive.

Romney made the comment while touting a health care approach that would allow people to purchase their own insurance, which Romney said would give the companies an incentive to keep their customers happy and healthy.

"It also means that if you don't like what they do, you can fire them," Romney said. "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn't give me the good service I need, I want to say, you know, I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

Romney commented that he feared several times getting a "pink slip," though he and his campaign did not describe when the multimillionaire venture and equity investor ever worried about being dismissed from a job.

Source: Boston Globe, Matt Viser , Jan 9, 2012

2010: Consider single-fee structures, at state level

Romney referenced the obligation leaders and citizens of the US have to serve the less advantaged. He would not yield, not even an inch. It would be irresponsible to shirk duty. And, "no matter how I explained myself, it would lead to more accusations of flip-flopping."

Instead of abandoning his signature plan for Massachusetts, four of Romney's sixty-four points identify the steps that must be taken to develop an efficient health care system, such as considering "single-fee structures," consumer incentives for adopting healthy lifestyles, renewed emphasis on preventative care, and malpractice tort reform.

When he revised "No Apology" after the midterm elections in 2010, Romney turned up the political rhetoric. Yet he did not back off on the Massachusetts health care plan. Instead, he underscored earlier arguments that it should not be implemented on a national basis, that it ought to be left to the states, and that to do otherwise would be a violation of states' rights.

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.193-194 , Nov 22, 2011

Reform Medicare, but don't cancel prescription program

Q: If you were president, would you repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?

PERRY: No. But it's a $17 trillion hole that we have in our budget we've got to deal with.

Q: [to Romney] How about you?

ROMNEY: I wouldn't repeal it. I'd reform Medicare and reform Medicaid and reform Social Security to get them on a sustainable basis, not for current retirees, but for those in their 20s and 30s and early 50s.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Health Savings Accounts give patients stake in health costs

Q: [to Cain]: What is your health care plan?

CAIN: First, repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Secondly, [market reforms]: deductibility of health insurance premiums; loser-pay laws; and association health plans.

ROMNEY: Herman Cain is right, and let's get back to getting the cost of health care down. The reason health care is so expensive is not just because of insurance, it's because of the cost of providing care. And one reason for that is the person who receives care in America generally doesn't care how much it costs, because once they've paid their deductible, it's free. And the provider, the more they do, the more they get paid. And so what we have to do is make sure that individuals have a concern and care about how much something costs. And for that to happen, health savings accounts. Give people a stake in what the cost of insurance is going to be, what the cost of it is going to be. Co-insurance, where people pay a share of the bill, that makes a difference.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Cap medical malpractice punitive damages at $500,000

During his gubernatorial campaign, Mitt Romney supported capping punitive damages to replace the unlimited status quo. In 2003, Romney also supported a bill to cap noneconomic awards at $500,000, arguing "If we have in place policies which drive physicians away, which drive costs spiraling out of control, we can't attract jobs, we can't have a better future for our kids and the families that want to live here. We need reform now." In May of 2006, the Romney administration issued a specific tort reform proposal, calling for:
Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #5: Romney , Jun 7, 2011

Get everyone some form of catastrophic health coverage

We found a way to get everybody insured with private free-market health insurance. I do support an effort to get everybody some form of catastrophic coverage. It may be a public-private partnership between private insurance industries and the federal government. It may be done with the states. But I’ll bring together the governors of all 50 states, leadership in Washington, and industry representatives, to say, “What’s the right way to fashion this that makes the most sense for the people of America?
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

FactCheck: Untrue that 47M uninsured want to “not play”

Romney offered a theory for the number of uninsured that is simply false. Romney said, “The reason health care isn’t working like a market right now is you have 47 million people that are saying, ‘I’m not going to play. I’m just going to get free care paid for by everybody else.’ That doesn’t work.”

This idea--that most uninsured Americans simply don’t feel like having health insurance--is simply not the case: Most people who are offered insurance do not turn it down. A 2007 study found that 20% of the uninsured could have afforded coverage, but even leaving aside other factors like being turned down for insurance, that’s hardly 47 million people refusing to “play.”

Romney is also misleading when he implies that the uninsured are simply choosing between toeing the line and freeloading. While uninsured individuals can get a certain amount of free emergency care, it is by no means comparable to the care given to those with insurance.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican debate , Jan 5, 2008

Personal responsibility instead of employer mandates

Q: What should we do with all the millions of people who are not insured?

A: Well, I actually got the job done. Working with people across the aisle, we said: Enough is enough. Look, the best kind of prevention you can have in health care is to have a doctor. And if someone doesn’t have a doctor, doesn’t have a clinic they can go to, doesn’t have health insurance to be able to provide the prescription drugs they need, you can’t be healthy. And you need to have health insurance for all of our citizens. And I found a way to do that without requiring raising taxes, without a government mandate, without a government takeover. When I said government mandate, I meant employer mandate. Instead, we have personal responsibility. We allowed individuals to buy their own policies. Those that couldn’t afford them, we helped them buy their policies. And you know what? It cost us no more money to help people buy insurance policies that they could afford than it was costing us before, handing out free care.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Let states create their own private, market-based insurance

Q: Does the health care plan you left in Massachusetts, which required people to get their own insurance, amount to HillaryCare? You say it was the result of a Democratic legislature.

ROMNEY: First of all, I’m not going to give the Democratic legislature credit for the plan that I helped build. I think it’s a model that other states can adopt in some respects. But our plan is different than Hillary Clinton’s in a lot of important ways. For Democrats, they want to have government take it over. The right answer is to get all of our citizens insured so they don’t have to worry about losing their insurance if they change jobs or have a preexisting condition. But Hillary says the federal government’s going to tell you what kind of insurance, and it’s all government insurance. And I say no, let the states create their own plans, and instead of government insurance, [have] private, market-based insurance. Hillary’s plan costs an extra $110 billion. My plan doesn’t cost any additional money.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Same tax treatment if people buy insurance without employers

Our health care system right now really penalizes individuals that might want to buy their own insurance, as opposed to buying it through their company. And that’s why I propose that people should be able to get their insurance individually, and it should be--and get the same tax treatment as to whether the company buys it for them, or they buy it for themselves. And all medical expenses would be tax deductible.
Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Conservative idea: individual responsibility for health care

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p.114 , Aug 31, 2007

Insure 45 million uninsured with a free-market based system

It doesn’t make sense to have 45 million people without insurance. It’s not good for them because they don’t get good preventative care and disease management. But it’s not good for the rest of the citizens either, because if people aren’t insured, they go to the emergency room for their care when they get very sick. That’s expensive. They don’t have any insurance to cover it. So guess who pays? Everybody else. So it’s not good for the people that aren’t insured. We have to have our citizens insured, and we’re not going to do that by tax exemptions, because the people that don’t have insurance aren’t paying taxes. What you have to do is what we did in Massachusetts. Is it perfect? No. But we say, let’s rely on personal responsibility, help people buy their own private insurance, get our citizens insured, not with a government takeover, not with new taxes needed, but instead with a free-market based system that gets all of our citizens in the system. No more free rides. It works.
Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Pharmaceutical companies create products to make us better

Don’t make the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys. Actually they’re trying to create products to make us well and make us better, and they’re doing the work of the free market.

And are there excesses? I’m sure there are, and we should go after excesses. But they’re an important industry to this country. But let me note something else, and that is the market will work. The buyer doesn’t have information about what the cost or quality is, or different choices they could have.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Subsidies for health coverage for low-income individuals

Opposed requiring employers to contribute to cost of health care plans for their employees, preferring subsidies for health coverage for low-income individuals and providing tax incentives to individuals, including the unemployed and the self-employed, for the purchase of health insurance
Source: Boston Globe, review of 1994 campaign issues , Mar 21, 2002

Voluntary purchasing pools

Source: Boston Globe, review of 1994 campaign issues , Mar 21, 2002

Mitt Romney on ObamaCare

Repeal Obamacare; Federal-state partnerships instead

I think what you're going to see from Republicans is a federal-state partnership, where the federal government sets the parameters and the states are given more flexibility to create ways to care for their own low-income individuals. I think you're going to see proposals coming from our side that say, "Look, we can make the current system of private insurance, which 75, 80% of Americans have, we can keep that in place, get costs down, more flexibility. And Obamacare needs to be repealed."
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 7, 2019

Idea for opt-in health exchanges adopted by ObamaCare

The crucial mistake made when drafting the ACA was the way the health care exchanges were structured. Under the ACA, if you're individually insured, or uninsured, and you don't qualify for Medicaid, you can buy insurance on the exchange. The theory behind this approach, which is based on an idea from Mitt Romney, is sound. It's the same theory that underlies all insurance, which is that if you pool people together, you can spread the risk in a way that makes it possible for everyone to get a good deal and not get excluded based on health conditions.

Here's the problem, though: in an effort to protect people between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-five, the ACA mandated that the exchanges could charge them only up to three times the cost of the cheapest policy on offer. Did someone forget to do the math? Health care costs for people in that age range are, on average, six times what they are for young, healthy people.

Source: The Right Answer, by Rep. John Delaney, p. 39-41 , May 29, 2018

ObamaCare has unelected board making health decisions

ROMNEY: ObamaCare puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don't like that idea.

OBAMA: The irony is that we've seen this model work really well in Massachusetts, because Gov. Romney set up what is essentially the identical model.

ROMNEY: We didn't put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they're going to receive.

OBAMA: This "unelected" board is a group of health care experts to figure out, How can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?

ROMNEY: To bring the cost of health care down, we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. We instead need to put insurers, hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive: performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down.

OBAMA: This board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. That's explicitly prohibited in the law.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

ObamaCare is too expensive, and it has killed jobs

Q: You want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Why?

ROMNEY: I sure do. It comes from my experience. The number of small businesses I've gone to that are saying they're dropping insurance because they can't afford it, the cost of health care is just prohibitive. So it's expensive. Second reason, it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors. Number three, it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. Fourth, small businesses were asked, what's been the effect of Obamacare on your hiring plans? And 3/4 of them said it makes us less likely to hire people. I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for ObamaCare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. It has killed jobs.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

State targets for insurance, to replace ObamaCare

Q: Which parts of ObamaCare would you change?

A: I would repeal all of ObamaCare and replace it with I think the kinds of reforms we really need. Now and then the President says I'm the grandfather of ObamaCare. I don't think he meant that as a compliment, but I'll take it. I'm proud of the fact that in my state, after our plan was put in place, every child has insurance, 98% of adults have insurance, but we didn't have to cut Medicare by $716 billion to do that. We didn't raise taxes on health companies by $500 billion as the President did. And so we crafted a program that worked for our state, and I believe the right course for healthcare reform is to say for each state we're going to give you the Medicaid dollars you've had in the past, plus grow them with inflation, plus 1%, and you as the states are now going to be given targets to move people towards insurance and you craft programs that are right for your state. Some will copy what we did; others will find better solutions.

Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News) , Sep 19, 2012

ObamaCare drives medical device jobs overseas

Obama has pursued policies that will [hurt the economy]. For instance, Obamacare imposes an excise tax on the revenue of medical device companies that is already driving jobs and investment overseas. Meanwhile, the FDA's slow and opaque approval process is rated less than 1/4 as effective as its European counterpart by medical technology companies. Robust NIH funding will only have its desired effect if paired with sensible policies that facilitate medical innovation more broadly
Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Obama cut Medicare by $500B to pay for ObamaCare

Q: In the general campaign, Pres. Obama & the Democrats will say 'Mitt Romney is throwing grandma over the cliff.' What is the strategy to deal with that?

A: You've got to have the facts on your side. When Obama runs ads saying you are throwing the elderly over the cliff, I will say shame on you Mr. President; you are the only president in history to cut Medicare by $500 billion. And why did you cut it? To pay for Obamacare that we don't want and we can't afford.

Source: Sean Hannity 2012 presidential interviews "Hannity Primary" , Feb 3, 2012

Romney healthcare stances compared to Obama

OnTheIssues' paperback book explores how Romney's healthcare stances differ from Obama's, and where they are similar. We cite details from Romney's books and speeches, and Obama's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Romney vs. Obama on Domestic Issues

Source: Paperback: Romney vs. Obama On The Issues , Jan 8, 2012

Return healthcare to states, under the 10th Amendment

BACHMANN: Romney is the only governor that put into place socialized medicine. Romney sent his team to meet with Obama to teach them how to spread the RomneyCare model across the nation.

ROMNEY: One, I didn't send a team to meet with Obama. I wish he'd have given me a call. I wish when he was putting together his health care plan, he'd have had the judgment to say, "Let me talk to a governor who understands this topic," and get on the phone. I'd have said, "Mr. President, you're going down a very, very bad path. Do not continue going down that path because what you're going to do is you're going to raise taxes. You're going to cut Medicare." The plan we put in place in Massachusetts deals with the 8% of our people who didn't have insurance. The 92% of people who did have insurance, nothing changes for them. If I'm President, we're going to get rid of ObamaCare and return, under our Constitution--the 10th Amendment--the responsibility and care of health care to the people in the states.

Source: Yahoo's "Your Voice Your Vote" debate in Iowa , Dec 10, 2011

No FEDERAL individual mandate; but state mandate ok

PERRY: [To Romney]: The fact of the matter is, you're for individual mandate.

ROMNEY: If the people of Massachusetts don't like our plan, they can get rid of it. Individuals under the 10th Amendment have the power to craft their own solutions. I'm absolutely adamantly opposed to ObamaCare. It's a 2,000-page bill that takes over health care. It is wrong for health care. It's unconstitutional.

PERRY: I read your first book and it said that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country. It came out of the reprint of the book. But, I'm just sayin', you were for individual mandates.

ROMNEY: You've raised that before, Rick. And you're simply wrong.

PERRY: It was true then. It's true now.

ROMNEY: Rick, I'll tell you what. $10,000 bet?

PERRY: I'm not in the betting business. I'll show you the book.

ROMNEY: I wrote the book. Chapter seven is called The Massachusetts Model. I have not said anything about our plan being a national model imposed on the nation.

Source: Yahoo's "Your Voice Your Vote" debate in Iowa , Dec 10, 2011

ObamaCare waivers on Day One; repeal bill on Day Two

SANTORUM: [to Romney]: We need to repeal ObamaCare. We can do it, not by waivers. That's the wrong idea. California going to waive that? No. NY going to waive it? No. All these states--many of them, liberal states--are going to continue on, and then states like NH that will waive it will end up subsidizing California. We need to repeal it by doing it through a reconciliation process .

ROMNEY: Rick, you're absolutely right. On day one, granting a waiver to all 50 states doesn't stop in its tracks entirely ObamaCare. That's why I also say we have to repeal ObamaCare, and I will do that on day two with a reconciliation bill, because, as you know, it was passed by reconciliation, 51 votes. We can get rid of it with 51 votes. We have to get rid of ObamaCare and return to the states the responsibility [for healthcare]. We all agree about repeal and replace. I put together a plan that says what I'm going to replace it with: to solve the problem of health care, to get it to work like a market.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

ObamaCare has enormous differences from RomneyCare

PERRY: RomneyCare was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for ObamaCare.

ROMNEY: First, I'd be careful about trusting what President Obama says as to what the source was of his plan, number one. But number two, if you think wha we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did are the same, boy, take a closer look, because:

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

On Day One, ObamaCare waivers to all 50 states

Q: You've said some things about the Massachusetts law worked; other things didn't work as well. On the individual mandate, the government saying that people have to buy health insurance--was that one of the things that worked in Massachusetts?

ROMNEY: One thing I'd do on day one if I'm elected president is direct my secretary of health and human services to put out an executive order granting a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It is bad law, it will not work, and I'll get that done on day one. Now, what we faced in our state is different than what other states face. In our state, our plan covered 8% of the people, the uninsured. One thing I know, and that is that what Pres. Obama put in place is not going to work. It's massively expensive. His plan is taking over 100% of the people, and the American people don't like it and should vote it down.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

ObamaCare's biggest difference: I believe in 10th Amendment

Q: [to Pawlenty]: You've said that the president's plan and the Romney plan are so similar that you called them both ObamneyCare.

PAWLENTY: Obamacare was patterned after Mitt's plan. And for Mitt or anyone else to say that there aren't substantial similarities or they're not essentially the same plan, it just isn't credible.

ROMNEY: There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people. We put together a plan that was right for Massachusetts. The president took the power of the people & the states away from them and put in place a one-size-fits-all plan. It's bad law. It's bad constitutional law. It's bad medicine. And if I'm president, on my first day, I'll direct the secretary of HHS to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

MA Constitution allows mandate; US Constitution does not

Q: Do you think that government at any level has the right to make someone buy a good or service just because they are a resident? Where do you find that mandating authority in the Constitution?

A: You're asking me, what do we think we should do about Obamacare? And the answer is, I think you have to repeal Obamacare, and I will, and I'll put in place a plan that allows states to craft their own programs to make those programs work.

Q: I'm asking you where you find that authority in the Constitution.

A: Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. And the Massachusetts constitution allows states, for instance, to say that our kids have to go to school. It has that power. We said, look, we're finding people that can afford health insurance, that are going to the hospital and getting the state to pay for them--people who are free riders. We said, you know what? We're going to insist that those people who can afford to pay for themselves do so. That was our conclusion

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

ObamaCare's power grab won't work; Obama didn't ask me

Q: [To Pawlenty]: Why "Obamneycare"?

PAWLENTY: I cited Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare.

Q: You chose those words, "Obamneycare," on "Fox News Sunday;" why is it not "Obamneycare" with Romney right here?

PAWLENTY: Using the term "Obamneycare" was a reflection of the president's comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan.

ROMNEY: My guess is the president is going to eat those words and wish he hadn't put them out there. And I can't wait to debate him & say, Mr. President, if, in fact, you did look at what we did in Massachusetts, why didn't you give me a call and ask what worked & what didn't? And I would have told you, Mr. President, that wha you're doing will not work. It's a huge power grab by the federal government. It's going to be massively expensive, raising taxes, cutting Medicare. It's wrong for America. And that's why there's an outpouring across the nation to say no to Obamacare.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Mitt Romney on RomneyCare

I care about 100% of people; & insured 98% of adults in MA

I care about 100 percent of the American people. I want 100 percent of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future. I care about our kids. I understand what it takes to make a bright and prosperous future for America again. I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I'm a guy who wants to help with the experience I have, the American people. My passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in God. And I believe we're all children of the same God. I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another. I served as a missionary for my church. I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years. I've sat across the table from people who were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times. I went to the Olympics when they were in trouble to try and get them on track. And as governor of my state, I was able to get 100% of my people insured, all my kids, and about 98% of the adults.
Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 16, 2012

RomneyCare was bipartisan; ObamaCare was pushed through

OBAMA: The irony is that we've seen [the ObamaCare] model work really well in Massachusetts, because Gov. Romney set up what is essentially the identical model.

ROMNEY: I like the way we did it in Massachusetts. In my state, we had Republicans and Democrats work together. What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote. As a matter of fact, when Massachusetts did something quite extraordinary--elected a Republican senator to stop ObamaCare, you pushed it through anyway. So entirely on a partisan basis, instead of bringing America together and having a discussion on this important topic, you pushed through something that you and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid thought was the best answer and drove it through. What we did in a legislature 87% Democrat, we worked together; 200 legislators in my legislature, only two voted against the plan by the time we were finished. What were some differences? We didn't raise taxes. You've raised them by $1 trillion under ObamaCare.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

RomneyCare is national model, but only state by state

ROMNEY: I like the way we did [RomneyCare] in Massachusetts. In my state, we had Republicans and Democrats work together.

OBAMA: Governor Romney said this has to be done on a bipartisan basis. [ObamaCare] was a bipartisan idea. In fact, it was a Republican idea. And Governor Romney said "what we did in Massachusetts could be a model for the nation." I agree that the Democratic legislators in Massachusetts might have given some advice to Republicans in Congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan.

ROMNEY: The right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America. That's the wrong way to go. The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.

Source: First Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 3, 2012

OpEd: RomneyCare courageous but not for every state

I have great respect for Governor Romney. He's a true businessman who understands what it means to fix problems. He was brought in during a debt-ridden time for Salt Lake City Olympics and he turned it around. I endorsed him when he ran for president in 2008 because I strongly believed we needed a businessperson in the White house these last few years.

Many have criticized Governor Romney for his stance on health care in Massachusetts. While I wouldn't choose his plan for South Carolina, I appreciate that he had the courage to try it. I also appreciate his belief that healthcare reform is a state's right and shouldn't be a federal mandate. I often think about how different our country would be if Governor Romney were in the White House.

Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.128 , Apr 3, 2012

2006: individual mandate is a Republican approach

Who first proposed making health insurance compulsory?

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In the late 1980s, when Democrats were pushing to require employers to provide health insurance, the Foundation suggested that every American be required to buy health insurance, a requirement known as the individual mandate.

Which politicians took up that idea?

Many Republicans did in the early 1990s, after Pres. Clinton introduced a plan that would have forced companies to cover employees. When the Clinton plan collapsed in 1994, talk of the individual mandate died with it. But a decade later, Mitt Romney, then governor of Massachusetts, resurrected the concept for his state health-care plan, which requires residents to buy insurance or pay up to $1,212 in annual penalties. "It's a Republican way of reforming the market," Romney said when the law debuted, in 2006. "To have people show up at a hospital when they get sick, and expect someone else to pay, that's a Democratic approach."

Source: The Week, "A Mandate for Controversy", p. 13 , Dec 23, 2011

Over 98% of MA residents now have healthcare

Although the bill he signed into law has not yet saved Massachusetts money--experts say it will save money only when consumers make better use of more cost-efficient clinics instead of costlier hospital emergency rooms and all health care providers are required to accept the state supervised "Health Connector" insurance program for previously uninsured citizens--over 98% of state residents now have health care. Yet because Pres. Obama used it to design his much-assailed national program, Romney would rather forget that so-called ObamaCare is simply a souped-up version of RomneyCare.

There are important differences between the programs developed by Romney and those that Obama attempted to adapt on a federal level. For instance, Romney's plan passed the "state's rights" litmus test. It sought only to provide insurance to the uninsured. Romney's plan was not funded by new taxes. Nor did it employ "robbing Peter to pay Paul" tactics. Obama's plan brought new taxes and extracted money from Medicare.

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.113 , Nov 22, 2011

2008: Individual mandate ok; free ride is not

In 2008, Romney wrote in the Wall Street Journal that [RomneyCare] could be applied to other states and that they should learn from the Massachusetts experience and "improve on what we've done." He acknowledged that some libertarian-leaning conservatives would "balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided. Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian."

Two years later when Obama used the Massachusetts plan as the model for a national health care program, Romney argued that "what works in one state is not going to work somewhere else." Many thought he was abandoning support for the Massachusetts plan, when in fact he was only saying, as he had said all along, that the health care plan could be implemented throughout the nation, presumably state by state. That is the only major difference: it should be a state program, not a federal one.

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.148-149 , Nov 22, 2011

My plan right for MA but wrong for rest of country

Before Romney made his candidacy official in June, he traveled west to his native Michigan and the medical school at the University of Michigan to deliver what was billed as a major policy statement on health care. He dished an explanation as to why the breakthrough health care program he had created for Massachusetts was absolutely right for the Commonwealth but absolutely wring for the rest of the country.

Sifting through the chaff, careful listeners may have gleaned a few kernels of important information. Chief among them was Romney's legitimate concern that Obama's federal program, modeled on the one Romney built in Massachusetts, would likely lead to the creation of a sprawling and unresponsive bureaucracy.

Columnist and blogger Ezra Klein wrote: "His argument boils down to 'Under a Romney presidency, no state would have to replicate my awesome, obvious health-care reforms.'"

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.206 , Nov 22, 2011

RomneyCare intended as state plan; never as national model

PERRY: [to Romney]: In your hard copy book, you said RomneyCare was exactly what the American people needed, to have that RomneyCare given to them as you had in Massachusetts. Then in your paperback, you took that line out.

ROMNEY: I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. When I put my health care plan together, a Washington Post reporter asked, "Is this is a plan that if you were president you would put on the whole nation, have a whole nation adopt it?" I said, "Absolutely not. This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan." And it's fine for to you retreat from your own words in your own book [on Social Security's constitutionality], but please don't try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book. I stand by what I wrote. I believe in what I did. And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

In MA, we addressed only the 8% who were uninsured

Q: The other day Gov. Perry called RomneyCare "socialized medicine." He said it has failed in western Europe and in Massachusetts. And he warns that Republicans should not nominate "Obama-lite."

ROMNEY: I don't think he knows what he was talking about in that regard. Let me tell you this about our system in Massachusetts: 92% of our people were insured before we put our plan in place. Nothing's changed for them. The system is the same. They have private market-based insurance. We had 8% of our people that weren't insured. And so what we did is we said let's find a way to get them insurance, again, market-based private insurance. We didn't come up with some new government insurance plan. Our plan in Massachusetts has some good parts, some bad parts, some things I'd change, some things I like about it. It's different than Obamacare. Obamacare intends to put someone between you and your physician. It must be repealed. That law is bad; it's unconstitutional; it shall not stand.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

I stand by what I did in Massachusetts

Q: Do you stand by what you did with the health care mandate in Massachusetts?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. I'm not running for governor. I'm running for president. And if I'm president, on day one I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It's a problem that's bad law, it's not constitutional. I'll get rid of it.

Q: [to Perry]: Can a state like Massachusetts go ahead and pass health care reform, including mandates? Is that a good idea, if Massachusetts wants to do it?

PERRY: Well, that's what Gov. Romney wanted to do, so that's fine. But the fact of the matter is, that was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for Obamacare. I don't think it was right for Massachusetts when you look at what it's costing the people of Massachusetts today.

ROMNEY: If you think what we did in Massachusetts and what Pres. Obama did are the same, boy, take a closer look: he raised taxes $500 billion; we didn't raise taxes.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

If people of MA don't like RomneyCare, they can change it

Q: [To Romney]: Gov. Pawlenty called your Massachusetts plan "Obamneycare". Is that a fair comparison?

ROMNEY: If I'm elected president, I will repeal Obamacare. And also, on my first day in office, I will grant a waiver to all 50 states from Obamacare. Now, there's some similarities and there are some big differences. Obamacare spends a trillion dollars. If it were perfect--and it's not perfect, it's terrible--we can't afford more federal spending. Secondly, it raises $500 billion in taxes. We didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts. Third, Obamacare takes $500 billion out of Medicare and funds Obamacare. We, of course, didn't do that. And, finally, ours was a state plan, a state solution, and if people don't like it in our state, they can change it. That's the nature of why states are the right place for this type of responsibility. And that's why I introduced a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a state-centric program.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

2006 lessons: involve everyone; demonize none; transparency

The debate over health care raged Washington during most of 2009. Sadly, that consensus as to the problem did not result in a consensus as to the solution. The real tragedy was that it wasn't the sort of bipartisan and genuine search for solutions that I experienced in Massachusetts in 2006 and 2007. Our reforms in Massachusetts didn't produce a perfect system, just one that was much better than what had been there before, and it taught us all valuable lessons on how to work collaboratively to reform health care. But the most important lessons--involve everyone, demonize no one, and be transparent--were never adopted by President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid, and their surrogates. As a result, we have not achieved the kind of reforms that will tame health-care cost inflation.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.163 , Mar 2, 2010

People without insurance already receive care via E.R.

We had a collective epiphany: the people in Massachusetts who didn't have health insurance were, in fact, already receiving health care. Under federal law, hospitals had to treat people who arrived at their emergency rooms with acute conditions. That meant that someone was already paying for the cost of treating people who didn't have health insurance. If we could get our hands on that money, and therefore redirect it to help the uninsured BUY insurance instead--before acute conditions developed--the cost of insuring everyone in the state might not be as expensive as I had feared.

Massachusetts insurance regulations also didn't help. The commonwealth required insurers to offer only benefit-rich policies--and consequently, such policies were very expensive. Further, the state didn't allow insurers to adequately discount policy premiums for young healthy people. As a result, premiums for individuals who were not part of a pool were excessively high, & young healthy people declined to pay for them.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.171-172 , Mar 2, 2010

2006: Compromise with Ted Kennedy to make RomneyCare reality

The plan we ultimately constructed & proposed to the legislature relied on three basic components:
  1. Those who could afford insurance would either buy it pay their own health-care costs--no more free riders showing up at the hospital expecting to ge care at tax-payers' expense
  2. For those who couldn't afford health insurance on their own, the state would pay a portion of their premium with the amount of the subsidy determined on a sliding scale by income
  3. To make it easier to insurers to service individual customers, the state would create a "connector" or "exchange" that would collect premiums and pass them on to the insurers.
Our first stop was the office of Ted Kennedy. He saw an opportunity to work on a bipartisan experiment that might become a model for other states. He quickly grasped the structure of our program, and he agreed to support our approach. The bill wasn't perfect; nothing that groundbreaking could be. But it was a big improvement over what we had.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney,p.173-5, Mass.Voting Record Ch.58 , Mar 2, 2010

Base health care system on free choice & private medicine

Congressional Democrats are gearing up to take over the health care system. We need to advance a conservative plan--one based on free choice, personal responsibility, and private medicine; one that doesn't add massive new federal spending. I like what I proposed in Massachusetts when I was governor. And even though the final bill and its implementation aren't exactly the way I wanted, the plan is a good model. Today, almost every Massachusetts citizen who had been uninsured now has private, free-market coverage, and we didn't have to raise taxes or borrow money to make it happen. We may find even better ideas in other states. But let's make certain that conservative principles are front and center. A big-government takeover of health care is the next thing liberals are going to try, and it's the last thing America needs.
Source: Speech to 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 27, 2009

Mandating citizens to buy health insurance is conservative

With regards to my health care plan, let me describe what is the ultimate conservative approach. In this country, you have today about 47 million people that don’t have health insurance. We went out and tried to find out why they don’t. We found out that about half of them could afford to buy insurance if it were reasonably priced. They could afford to buy it, but they weren’t buying it. it? If we get sick, we can go to the hospital and get care for free.“ And we said: what? If somebody could afford insurance, they should either buy the insurance or pay their own way. They don’t have to buy insurance if they don’t want to, but pay their own way. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me. So we said: No more free riders. It was like bringing “workfare” to welfare. We said: If you can afford insurance, then either have the insurance or get a health savings account. Pay your own way, but no more free ride. That was what the mandate did.
Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley , Jan 30, 2008

FactCheck: MA employers have no mandates, but “requirements”

Romney made some questionable statements about the Massachusetts universal health care plan he signed into law, saying he opposed employer mandates: “When I said government mandate, I meant employer mandate.”

Massachusetts may not call its rules for employers a “mandate,” but the state health care plan includes several “obligations” or “requirements,” as the state dubs them, for employers, along with fees for noncompliance. The requirements for employers are much narrower than those for individuals, who indeed, according to the state, face a “mandate” to get health insurance.

But is a “requirement” a “mandate”? You be the judge: Employers with more than 10 full-time employees must pay at least 33% of employee premium costs or have a group health plan. Those that fail to do so must pay a fee of $295 per full-time employee per year.

Individuals in the state must have health insurance. If not, they’ll lose their personal exemption on state income taxes in 2007--a penalty of $219.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

FactCheck: No, MA healthcare plan is not paid for, yet

As for the cost of the Massachusetts universal health care program, Romney said, “It cost us no more money to help people buy insurance policies that they could afford than it was costing us before, handing out free care.” Romney can’t yet make the claim that it has been completely paid for with the state’s “free care” money--funds used to pay for emergency health care for the uninsured.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated that the state would need an extra $200 million each year for 2007 to 2009 to finance the health care plan, because more people enrolled in subsidized care than anticipated. That shortfall, however, is a projection, and a Boston Globe article on the budget gap said some money could be shifted from the free care fund, if there is money in that fund to do so. Additional dollars came from a Medicaid waiver granted by the federal government, which is set to expire in 2009. The Massachusetts government is negotiating with federal officials to renew that waiver.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Removing most mandates drove down premium cost by half

HUNTER: Gov. Romney’s plan goes in exactly the wrong direction, because while it allows for private health insurance, it has lots of mandates. Those 1,000 or so mandates drive up the cost of health care by about 35%. We need freedom. We need to allow people to buy their health care across state lines. That will bring down the cost of health care.

ROMNEY: We took as many mandates out as we could in our policies. And the legislature kept some there. I tried to take them all out; they put some back in. It was a compromise. They put some mandates there. But, let me tell you how many we got out. The price of the premium for an individual, 42 years old, in Boston, used to $350 a month. Now, it’s $180. We basically cut it in half by deregulating. Congressman, you’re absolutely right that taking regulation out of insurance brings the price down, and that’s why my plan would go state by state, deregulate them so we can get the cost of premiums down. We got the job done.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

FactCheck: HillaryCare closer to RomneyCare than “all gov’t”

Romney attacked Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal. But the plan he enacted in Massachusetts is quite similar to Clinton’s. Romney said, “Hillary says the federal government’s going to tell you what kind of insurance, & it’s all government insurance. And I say no, let the states create their own plans, and instead of government insurance, have private, market-based insurance.” Actually, the plan Romney brags about in Massachusetts shares a number of key characteristics with Clinton’s:Furthermore, Romney’s claim that Clinton espouses “all government insurance” is false. Under her proposals, people could keep their current insuranc. It is true that Clinton’s plan would require much more government involvement than Romney’s nationwide proposal.
Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando , Oct 21, 2007

FactCheck: MA plan works, but Romney not proposing it for US

Romney now says he wouldn’t propose a Massachusetts-style plan for the nation, so the track record of the Massachusetts plan is a poor indicator of what Romney’s current proposals might accomplish nationally. And while his claim that his state plan lowered premiums is correct according to the Commonwealth Connector, a state agency created to implement the plan, the group says that resulted from a legally required merging of small group and non-group markets, which is something states would be allowed to do--but not required--under Romney’s current proposal.

It’s also unclear how many of the previously uninsured have gained coverage under the Massachusetts plan. While the program has successfully enrolled 200,000 people, some of those may have switched from less desirable policies. A more apples-to-apples measure found that 395,000 people didn’t have insurance in the state in 2006, then a 10% decrease in the uninsured through July 2007.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando , Oct 21, 2007

Get everybody insured with state-based market dynamics

The way we improve something is not by putting more government into it. In my view, instead, the right way for us to go is to bring in place the kind of market dynamics that make the rest of the economy so successful. So my plan gets everybody in America insured, takes the burden of free riders off of our auto companies and everybody else, and says let’s get everybody in the system.
  1. We’re going to have states create their own plans. We did it in our state, and it’s working. We’re not going to have the federal government tell them how to do it.
  2. We’re not going to spend more money. Hillary Clinton’s plan costs $110 billion. Mine says, let’s use the money we’re already spending a little more wisely.
  3. Instead of having the federal government give you government insurance, Medicare and federal employee insurance, let’s have private insurance.
Get everybody insured, but not in a government takeover, but by using the dynamics that have always made our other markets so successful.
Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

MA plan blends personal responsibility & universal coverage

Romney says he is proud of the healthcare plan he masterminded for Massachusetts. It is a laudable plan that blends the Republican ideal of personal responsibility with the Democratic goal of universal healthcare.

Here’s a crash course in the 2006 Health Reform Statute. Every person is required to buy health insurance. Young, healthy people--who ordinarily wouldn’t buy health insurance--have to get it, even if they feel like they don’t need it. This inclusiveness lowers the premiums and allows state funds that were earmarked for medical care for the uninsured to be used to provide insurance for the populace. Medicaid still covers the indigent.

Critics say this isn’t fair to require everyone to buy health insurance. But it’s as equitable as requiring all drivers to buy automobile insurance. Everybody pays for the uninsured anyway, whether it’s in higher auto insurance premiums or higher hospital bills. Health insurance as a civic duty is a noble concept, but one that just may work.

Source: The Man, His Values, & His Vision, p. 34-35 , Aug 31, 2007

FactCheck: Romney plan virtually identical to Obama plan

Romney tried to distance his state’s universal health insurance plan from the proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates. Romney said, “Every Democrat up there’s talking about a form of socialized medicine, government takeover, massive tax increase. I’m the guy who actually tackled this issue. We get all of our citizens insured. We get people that were uninsured with private health insurance. We have to stand up and say the market works. Personal responsibility works.”

There are two problems with Romney’s characterization: One, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate to propose a single-payer, wholly government-funded health care plan. And two, Romney’s Massachusetts universal insurance system bears a striking resemblance to the health care proposals of the Democratic front-runners. For example, the Obama and Romney plans are virtually identical. But in our view, the term “government takeover” could only be applied to Rep. Kucinich’s proposal.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

MA program relies on personal responsibility & the market

Q: [The Massachusetts] program mandates individual health insurance coverage. Some conservatives say this is simply big government--is it?

A: As governor, I talked to people, and they say, “If I lose my job, I’m worried I’ll lose my insurance, and my insurance premiums are getting higher and higher.” And we said: We got to find a way to get everybody insured. And the last thing we want is to have the government take over health care, because anything they take over gets worse. We said: We need to find a way to get everybody in our state insured with private insurance. [We found] a way to get them insured without raising taxes, without a government takeover. It relies on personal responsibility. Every Democrat up there’s talking about a form of socialized medicine, government takeover, massive tax increase. I’m the guy who actually tackled this issue. We get all of our citizens insured. We have to stand up and say the market works. Personal responsibility works.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

MA health plan insures all without taxes or socialization

Q: A year ago, it seemed that you couldn’t wait to tell the world about your health-care experiment in Massachusetts. Since then, it’s been criticized by conservatives as something Hillary Clinton could’ve devised. You hardly mention it on your Web site. What’s changed?

A: I love it. It’s a fabulous program. I’m delighted with the fact that we worked together across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, to find a way to get health care for all of our citizens that’s affordable and that’s portable. I helped write it and I knew it well, and this is a country that can get all of our people insured with not a government takeover, without Hillarycare, without socialized medicine. Instead, get the market to do its job. Let me people have health care that they can afford. Get the market to do its job. Let people have the opportunity to choose policies in the private sector. We didn’t expand government programs. We didn’t raise taxes. There was no government takeover.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

FactCheck: MA plan not yet in place so analysis premature

Romney called his state health care experiment “a fabulous program” accomplished without any “government takeover”. Romney’s praise, however, is a bit premature--and while the plan is not government-administered health insurance, it includes mandates for individuals & employers, minimum coverage requirements, subsidized insurance & government-enforced fines for noncompliance.

Overall, it’s too soon to tell how successful the Massachusetts plan will be. The requirements for health coverage do not go int effect until July. By April, nearly 70,000 people had signed up for subsidized health plans. That number is half of those eligible. But the total estimate of uninsured Massachusetts residents is 372,000. The state has a long way to go.

And it has hit some snags in implementing the law. The initial bids from insurance companies were much more expensive than what Romney had touted, because over 200,000 insured residents would need to buy additional coverage to meet the original state requirements.

Source: FactCheck on 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library , May 3, 2007

Signal accomplishment as Governor is MA insurance reform

Mitt Romney’s signal legislative accomplishment is health insurance reform. Romney wrestled from the Massachusetts legislature in 2006 an important and sweeping set of innovations on how health insurance will be managed in Massachusetts.
Source: A Mormon in the White House?, by Hugh Hewitt, p.150 , Mar 12, 2007

MA reform focuses on individual responsibility (via fines)

To reform health insurance, Romney partnered with the Heritage Foundation. Of the approximately half-million uninsured in Massachusetts, about 200,000 were healthy risk takers who preferred spending dollars on goods other than premiums for health care insurance they figured they would not need.

In fact thousands of those risk-takers end up needing health care, and of the expensive sort. The state and the care providers eat the costs, which means the taxpayer and premium payers eventually get the bills. To this group, Romney gives no choice. In January, 2008, they must either insure themselves or be subject to a fine. The poor get subsidies as well as assistance in signing up.

The legislature tacked on a provision that penalizes companies of 11 or more employees that do not provide health insurance. Romney vetoed this add-on. The legislature overrode his veto. But the lawmakers still handed Romney an enormous victory. They did so because the plan manifestly makes sense.

Source: A Mormon in the White House?, by Hugh Hewitt, p.150-152 , Mar 12, 2007

State universal coverage plan is national test case

Massachusetts has become the pioneer in universal coverage [via Romney’s] plan for radically restructuring the health-care financing system. One piece is subsidizing low-income families’ purchase of private health insurance, instead of reimbursing hospitals for treating the uninsured. The other big idea creates an insurance exchange-a public bank that will collect the premiums from individuals and pass them on to their chosen insurers-so individuals can buy health insurance with pretax dollars.

The program’s passage with overwhelming bipartisan support is a notable achievement. It remains to be seen how many uninsured people actually order policies. Romney remarked, “I wish I were going to be governor the next five years to see it through,” but he will step down at the end of this year and is preparing to seek the presidency. Meanwhile, his health plan gives him a unique calling card-and provides the country with an important opportunity to test one possible solution to a vexing problem.

Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” , Apr 28, 2006

MA state health insurance plan lowered costs

We put in place a plan that gets every citizen in our state health insurance, and it didn’t cost us new money or require us to raise taxes. What we found was, it was less expensive or no more expensive to help individuals who had been uninsured by their own private policy than it had been for us to give out free care at the hospital. Since we put our plan in place last April, we’ve now had 300,000 people who were uninsured sign up for this insurance, private insurance. Where good doctor was wrong is tha it’s true the insurance companies don’t want to sell policies to one person at a time. It’s expensive. We established what we called a connector, a place where individuals could go to buy policies from any company, and that connector would in turn send their premiums on to those companies. So the economics of scale existed. As a result, the premiums for health insurance for an individual buying insurance went from $350 a month to $180 a month, with lower deductibles and now with prescription drugs.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Mandates on health insurance work in Massachusetts

I like mandates. The mandates work. If somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy it, and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way, as opposed to expect the government to pay their way. That’s an American principle. That’s a principle of personal responsibility. If you can afford to buy insurance, then buy it. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to buy it, but then you got to put enough money aside that you can pay your own way. If people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free-riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else. It actually applies to people at three-times federal poverty. They pay for their own policy. At less than three-times federal poverty, we help them buy a policy, so everybody is insured, and everybody is able to buy a policy that is affordable for them. One-quarter of the uninsured in my state were making $75,000 a year or more.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Repeal healthcare mandate, according to CC survey.

Romney supports the CC survey question on healthcare mandate

The Christian Coalition Voter Guide inferred whether candidates agree or disagree with the statement, 'Repealing the Nationalized Health Care System that Forces Citizens to Buy Insurance ' Christian Coalition's self-description: "Christian Voter Guide is a clearing-house for traditional, pro-family voter guides. We do not create voter guides, nor do we interview or endorse candidates."

Source: Christian Coalition Surve 18CC-5 on Jul 1, 2018

Other candidates on Health Care: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Ben Downing
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Danielle Allen
Deval Patrick
Don Berwick
Geoff Diehl
Jay Gonzalez
Jesse Gordon
Karyn Polito
Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Seth Moulton
Setti Warren
Shiva Ayyadurai
Sonia Chang-Diaz
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Beth Lindstrom
Ed Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Geoff Diehl
Heidi Wellman
Joe Kennedy III
John Kingston
Kevin O`Connor
Shannon Liss-Riordan
Shiva Ayyadurai

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vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
vs.Gary Black(R)
vs.Herschel Walker(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Michael Franken(D)
vs.Bob Krause(D)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
vs.James Vandermaas(D)
vs.Natalie Fleming(R)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
vs.Peggy Hubbard(R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
vs.Thomas McDermott(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
vs.Michael Soetaert(D)
vs.Mark Holland(D)
vs.Joan Farr(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
vs.Luke Mixon(D)
vs.Gary Chambers(D)

MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
vs.Colin Byrd(D)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R)
vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D)
vs.Eric Schmitt(R) vs.Lucas Kunce(D)
vs.Mark McClosky(R) vs.Vicky Hartzler(R)
vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
Erica Smith(D) vs.Mark Walker(R)
vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R)
vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D)
vs.Jeff Jackson(D) vs.Marjorie K. Eastman(R)
ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
vs.Michael J. Steele(D)
NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
vs.Don Bolduc(R)
vs.Chris Sununu(R ?)
NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
vs.Adam Laxalt(R)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
vs.Antoine Tucker(R)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
Bernie Moreno(R) vs.Tim Ryan(D)
vs.Jane Timken(R) vs.Josh Mandel(R)
vs.JD Vance(R) vs.Mike Gibbons(R)
vs.Morgan Harper(D) vs.Matt Dolan(R)
OK: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
vs.Nathan Dahm(R)
vs.Joan Farr(R)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
vs.QAnon adherent Jo Rae Perkins(R)
vs.Jason Beebe(R)
PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R)
vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R)
vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D)
vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D)
vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R)
vs.Craig Snyder(R) vs.Mehmet Oz(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D)
vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Scott Milne(? R)
vs.Peter Welch(D)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D)
vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D)
vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
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Page last updated: Dec 28, 2021