DNC - Mitt Romney: Champion of the Individual Mandate

As Mitt Romney heads to New Hampshire today to publicize his newest book, what will New Hampshire Republicans say to Romney about his record on health reform? After all, as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney was a champion of health care reform that was a model for Democrats’ health reform plan. Romney even agrees that there are similarities between his health care plan and the President’s. 

Please see below for research on Romney’s support of the individual health insurance mandate:
Romney Said He Didn’t Back Off The Individual Mandate Nationally Saying “I Like Mandates.” MR. GIBSON: (Off mike) -- Governor Romney -- (off mike) -- mandate and that's an obstacle, although you've backed away from mandates on a national basis.  MR. ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. Do the mandates work? Mandates -- MR. THOMPSON: I beg your pardon? (Laughter.) MR. ROMNEY: Let me -- MR. THOMPSON: I didn't know you were going to admit that. MR. ROMNEY: Let me -- oh, absolutely. MR. THOMPSON: You like mandates. MR. ROMNEY: Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this -- MR. THOMPSON: And what did you come up with? (Laughter.) MR./SEN. : Governor, you imposed tax -- tax penalties in Massachusetts -- (inaudible) -- MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, we said, look, 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 of your health care to everybody else. [ABC Debate, New Hampshire Debate, 1/5/08]
Romney Said He Supported The Wyden-Bennett Health Care Bill.  Romney said, “It's important for us to have a stronger message as we go forward, and I think the party does have to stand up and be able to say, ‘Listen, Mr. Axelrod, you're wrong when you say we don't have ideas. We have a health care plan. You look at Wyden-Bennett. That's a health care plan that a number of Republicans think is a very good health care plan -- one that we support. Take a look at that one.’” [Meet The Press, 6/28/09]
·         FactCheck.Org: Wyden-Bennett Bill Requires State Based Exchanges Like The Senate Bill And “Comes Even Closer To The Democratic Plans By Including An Individual Mandate To Buy Coverage…And Employer Requirements.” FactCheck.org wrote, “The Ryan/Coburn bill and the Wyden/Bennett bill, which has four other Republican cosponsors, both create state-based insurance exchanges that would sell coverage that meets certain standards, just like the Senate-passed Democratic bill. (The House-passed bill sets up a national exchange, instead of state-based exchanges.) Wyden/Bennett comes even closer to the Democratic plans by including an individual mandate to buy coverage (with a tax penalty for those who don't) and employer requirements — the bill requires businesses to pay a certain amount per employee. Under that bill, most persons would end up getting their coverage through those state-based exchanges, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis. Both of these bills say plans sold through the exchanges will be required to provide benefits similar to those offered to members of Congress and federal employees, just like the Democratic bills. The proposals also subject insurance companies to new regulations, such as not allowing insurers to discriminate on the basis of health.” [Factcheck.org, Newsweek, 2/25/10]
Romney Said Making Sure “Everybody Has Insurance” Is A “Republican Way Of Reforming The Market” Because “Having 30 Million People In This Country Without Health Insurance And Having Those People Show Up When They Get Sick, And Expect Someone Else To Pay, That’s A Democratic Approach.” Romney said, “It's a Republican way of reforming the market, because, let me tell you, having 30 million people in this country without health insurance and having those people show up when they get sick, and expect someone else to pay, that's a Democratic approach. That's the wrong way. The Republican approach is to say, you know what? Everybody should have insurance. They should pay what they can afford to pay. If they need help, we will be there to help them, but no more free ride.” [Fox News, 4/12/06]
Romney Lobbied ‘Persistently’ for Individual Mandate in Massachusetts. “After persistent lobbying from Governor Mitt Romney, Senate leaders included the so-called individual mandate yesterday and other changes in the bill, a more modest alternative to a sweeping healthcare plan that has stalled amid a standoff between the House and Senate.. … Under the provision added to the bill yesterday, the individual mandate would kick in Jan. 1, 2008, if the state did not trim the number of uninsured by 50 percent; the mandate would also kick in by Jan. 1, 2009, if the number of uninsured had not been reduced by 75 percent.” [Boston Globe, 3/1/06]
Romney Favored Individual Mandate Over Employer Mandate. “The individual mandate was also included in the healthcare measure the House passed last fall, but that bill also had a provision requiring businesses to cover their workers or pay an assessment. Without that employer mandate, the House may not agree to an individual mandate. The Senate and Romney say an employer mandate would burden businesses and cost jobs.” [Boston Globe, 3/1/06]
Romney Said That Everyone Should Buy Insurance So There Are No More Free Riders. “CHARLES GIBSON (ABC NEWS)(Off-camera) And as I understand, the plan is that every individual has to, has to buy health insurance if their company doesn't provide it, and if they're too poor the state will give it to them or will help them buy it, correct?GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (REPUBLICAN): That's a pretty fair statement. What we've, what we've found is that if you have people who sit outside the system and instead just show up at the hospital when they're sick and expect someone else to pay, that's a free-rider system. It's bad healthcare for them, it's expensive for everyone else. Now we're saying, everybody, come on in. We want you to buy insurance if you can afford it, and we also will help you buy insurance if you can't afford it. We look at your income, and of course, we subsidize those at very low income.” [ABC News, 4/6/06]
Romney Called Individual Mandate Is A Conservative Plan. “Many of my positions I believe are very conservative, all of them, frankly. I know some people say, gee, your Massachusetts health care plan isn't conservative. I say oh, yes it is. Because right now in this country, people that don't have health insurance go to the hospital if they get a serious illness, and they get treated for free by government. My plan says no, they can't do that. No more free riders. People have to take personal responsibility. I consider it a conservative plan. So what is my view? I'm a conservative, through and through.” [Larry King Live, CNN, 3/23/10]
2010: Romney Called The Individual Mandate “The Ultimate Conservative Plan.” Mitt Romney said, “Let me tell you, there's a big difference between what we did and what President Obama is doing. What we did, I think, is the ultimate conservative plan. We said people have to take responsibility for getting insurance, if they can afford it, or paying their own way. No more free- riders.” [Fox News, 3/7/10]