Mitt Romney’s Individual Mandate

When Mitt Romney first proposed something like an “individual mandate” for his healthcare reforms in Massachusetts (RomneyCare!), it was a big fucking deal. Time’s Joe Klein gushed over Romney on healthcare in a December 2005 column:

Governor Mitt Romney is a Massachusetts politician with a long, narrow face, an impossible shock of hair and presidential ambitions. He's also pretty tall. But any resemblance to another recent Massachusetts politician who ran for President evaporates the moment Romney opens his mouth: his demeanor and metabolism are the opposite of John Kerry's—informal, conversational, enthusiastic and speedy. Or maybe it was just that we were talking about his rather remarkable plan to bring mandatory universal health-care coverage to Massachusetts by next summer, the first time a Republican has tried to pull off this most Democratic of policy goals.

"I don't like calling it universal coverage," he told me last week. "That smacks of Hillarycare. But I do think we've come up with a way to get everybody covered through the free-market system." Romney's way is not new: policy wonks call it an "individual mandate" system, but the Governor doesn't like that term either. "I call it a personal responsibility system," he said.

Romney had made the move towards an individual mandate a few months earlier, as USA Today reported:

"We can't have as a nation 40 million people — or, in my state, half a million — saying, 'I don't have insurance, and if I get sick, I want someone else to pay,' " says Romney, a Republican who says he might run for president in 2008.
It's the question behind all health care debates: Who should pay?

Romney's plan says everyone should: The state would work harder to enroll all residents eligible for Medicaid; employers, most of whom already offer insurance, would be encouraged to continue doing so voluntarily; and individuals who don't have insurance would have to sign on to one of two new insurance pools, one of which would be subsidized for lower-income residents.

Failing to sign up could lead to a loss of a personal tax exemption or garnishment of wages.

Today, Mitt Romney reacted to the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare by promising to “repeal and replace” it. What might he replace it with? From his campaign website:

In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan that is best for its own citizens. The federal government’s role will be to help markets work by creating a level playing field for competition.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson meanwhile suggested America may need a new Supreme Court in addition to a new president and Congress, and noted that “[n]othing about today’s decision changes the basic reality that it is impossible to eliminate deficit spending and remove the smothering consequences of federal debt without dramatically reducing the costs of Medicare and Medicaid.  And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have given the slightest hint of willingness to do so.” Romney, of course, blasted ObamaCare for cutting Medicare by “approximately 500 billion dollars.”

Complete Reason coverage of ObamaCare.

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  • ||

    "without dramatically reducing the costs of Medicare and Medicaid."

    Stop wimping out. Reducing their costs? No -- utterly obliterating them.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That picture of Romney made me think of this guy.

  • John||

    I was thinking more like if Martin Sean had played Ron Burgandy. WTF is up with that fake tan. Jesus Mitt if caffeine is a sin, isn't the tanning booth?

  • Bam!||

    It's a painting, not a picture.

  • mr simple||

    People see us everywhere
    They think you really care
    But myself I can't deceive
    I know it's only make believe...

  • John||

    Of course Romney did that. He wanted to governor of one of America's most backward and ignorant states. Now he is running for President and will pretend that never happened and do just the opposite. That is what politicians do.

  • RAYMONDO||

    ROMNEY WILL REPEAL. 1 STEP FORWARD, 49 STEPS BACK. TYPICAL REPUBLICAN.

  • db||

    We are so screwed.

  • Bingo||

    HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA: http://www.technologyreview.co.....will-help/


    Today the Supreme Court upheld the Congress's attempt to address this issue by creating, among other things, a mechanism that allows individuals to buy health insurance for themselves and their families at something other than the extortionate rates they're subject to now.

    As Andy Baio, former CTO of Kickstarter, and founder of Upcoming.org put it, "Today's ruling is life-changing news for indie artists and makers — especially those with families. (Like me.)"

    It's not the first time the US Government has recognized the need to create a mandatory health insurance program, but what's significant is that this decision allows for a little more long-term planning and risk-taking on the part of the very people who will continue to create jobs in the IT sector, one of the few that continues to grow.

    *vomit*

  • db||

    So, higher than the current extortionate rates is OK? As long as someone else is paying.

  • tarran||

    a mechanism that allows individuals to buy health insurance for themselves and their families at something other than the extortionate rates they're subject to now.

    tarran looks at his monthly insurance bill

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

  • Hyperion||

    It has already allowed me to purchase my health insurance for only $1000 more each year! And if that wasn't good enough, there will now be a panel of wise sages who will decide that I really don't need that silly operation after all. I can just take my pain pills and die. The joy!

  • tarran||

    Even better, I can cut back on educational activities for the kids to pay for things I don't use, like birth control pills!

  • tarran||

    BTW, as a resident of Belmont, MA, I have a word of advice to anyone seeking to get a genuine alternative to Obama on the Republican ballot...

    Mitt Romney voted for Scott Brown in 2009 in Belmont.

    IIRC Mitt Romney was no longer a resident of Belmont when he voted in that election. More importantly, I think he no longer met the residency requirements to vote.

    The town doesn't purge the voter rolls at all vigorously - my ex is still on the rolls in my precinct despite not having lived in Belmont since 2010.

    It's just the sort of thing that an enterprising reporter looking to make his name can cut his teeth chasing down. ;)

    Republicans, I am told, are big opponents of voter fraud, and this might prompt them to be willing to pick a different nominee at their convention.

  • John||

    I am sure that will be a real big deal.

  • tarran||

    It could be made into one.

    With the sort of astroturf campaign that got women to fight for their right to smoke, one could push it a long way.

  • John||

    No it won't. No one will care.

  • Cytotoxic||

    John's right.

  • tarran||

    You're probably right...

    My recent hike in health insurance prices has me fuming; and it's probably affecting my judgement.

    I want Romney to fail at the one thing that he seems to value above all other things - his reputation, his integrity, even his immortal soul - his desire to be President. I don't want him to see any reward for his conniving and scheming.

  • Hyperion||

    And see what happens when you give the wimins folk rights? They get lung cancer! Protect the wimin folk, repeal that damn amendment that gave them the right to vote! It's for their (all of our) own good!

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carries the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life... or death. It shall be life.

    -- Ten Bears

    Enjoy your membership in the double tongue club, Mr fuckin Roberts.

  • Hyperion||

    Ten Bears

    I'd like to turn ten bears loose in the next session of congress, with the doors locked from the outside. I mean the wild fuzzy kind, ten of them, not the Comanche dude. Although that would be ok as long as he had his tomahawk and was still really pissed at the fork tongues.

  • ChrisO||

    It's very healthy to be skeptical of Republicans' commitment to private-sector medicine. And that goes well beyond Romney, who's clear ideological agenda is to get elected president.

  • ChrisO||

    I apologize to apostrophes everywhere for my negligent misuse.

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