Analysis: Romney cites Massachusetts health care law as proof of his “empathy”
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney cited “Romneycare” – the 2006 Massachusetts health care law compelling all state residents to obtain health insurance coverage – as proof of his “empathy” for people.
“I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney said in an interview with NBC’s Ron Allen in Ohio. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”
Romney, who has spent most of his campaign ignoring or disavowing his involvement in ushering the landmark health care reform law as Governor of Massachusetts, changed his tune yesterday after several polls showed him slipping well behind President Barack Obama in important swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
At least three polls – conducted shortly after a video emerged showing Romney disparaging the 47% of Americans who don’t earn enough to pay federal income tax – found that the majority of voters perceive Romney as “out of touch” or uncaring about their problems. The polls also found that women voters in the three battleground states are overwhelmingly supporting Obama.
But Romney’s attempt to shore up his “caring” persona by showcasing Romneycare runs counter to his oft-stated campaign promise to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act on day one of his presidency. The federal health care reform law – or as Romney derisively dubbed “Obamacare” – was actually inspired by and modeled after Romneycare in Massachusetts.
Just like Romneycare, Obamacare requires all individuals to obtain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty to address out-of-control health care costs. The individual mandate is something that many Republicans oppose and wish to repeal.
Under Romneycare, those who earn less than 150% of the federal poverty level qualify for free health coverage provided by the state of Massachusetts. Under Obamacare, low-income Americans who cannot afford private insurance coverage are allowed to obtain insurance coverage through Medicaid.
Under Romneycare, young adults under age of 26 not covered by their employers may obtain affordable coverage through the Massachusett’s Connector insurance program. Under Obamacare, young adults may stay on their parents’ health insurance coverage until they turn 26.
Despite these core commonalities, Romney has repeatedly vowed to repeal Obamacare.
“Our mission is clear. If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama,” Romney said after the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act in June. Notably, Romney has never offered specific details on what reforms he would put in place if the Affordable Care Act is indeed repealed.
Romney’s sudden about-face on health care also reinforces the popular perception that Romney is not always forthright on his policy positions and who’s willing to say anything for his political benefit. Voters can hardly be blamed for doubting Romney’s sincerity in his latest efforts to re-brand himself as a compassionate leader.
- NBC News: Romney: Massachusetts health care law is proof of empathy
- Massachusetts Health Connector’s website
- WhatTheFolly.com: Polls show Obama widening his lead in Ohio, Florida & Pennsylvania
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Mitt Romney writes off 47% of Americans
- WhatTheFolly.com: Obama campaign releases 2 new TV spots attacking Romney’s 47% comment
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Mitt Romney disagrees with Supreme Court’s health care ruling, vows to repeal Affordable Care Act
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Romney’s pathetic attempt to exploit deaths of U.S. embassy staff for political gain
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: GOP’s health care hypocrisy
- WhatTheFolly.com: House Republicans repeal health care law for the 33rd time
- WhatTheFolly.com: Republicans vow to repeal health care law
- WhatTheFolly.com: Mitt Romney: “Time to restore the Promise of America”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Democratic National Convention 2012: Democrats wearing ‘Obamacare’ as a ‘badge of honor’
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: Medicare will be insolvent by 2016 if Obamacare is repealed
- WhatTheFolly.com: CBO: Repealing health care law will add $109 billion to federal deficit
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Mitt Romney on the other 47%