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Romney on Individual Mandate: “It’s a Personal Responsibility Mandate” Website Banner 6-28-2012 (Hypocrisy?)

It was only six years ago that Massachusetts passed its Health Care law. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed that legislation into law. At a March 2006 press conference as the bill was moving through the legislature, then Governor Romney expressed his pleasure that the law included the “personal responsibility provision” (individual mandate).

“With regards to the individual mandate, the individual responsibility program that I proposed, I was very pleased that the compromise between the two houses includes the personal responsibility mandate.”  In a television clip of the event,  Mr. Romney called the Massachusetts requirement that people buy health-care coverage “essential for bringing the health care costs down for everyone and getting everyone the health insurance they need.”

Romney then, in April 2006, reiterated that the penalty for employers was not a tax but the assessment of a fee.

“It is a fee, it’s an assessment,” he said. He added that the fee was being assessed on those who were “abusing the free care pool.”

So as the Republicans are having fits over the ruling of the Supreme Court that Congress can impose a fee under it’s taxation authority, the fact remains that six years ago, Mitt Romney made it clear that in his view, a fee or “assessment” is not a tax. There is no real difference between the reforms instituted by the Affordable Care Act and those imposed by RomneyCare.

Facts like these must be driving some Republicans nuts.


  1. Robert Robert June 29, 2012

    “Personal responsibility” is an interesting choice of words. People know best is a bit of misnomer when it comes to free market principles and party politics always takes the meaning out of context.

    In this case non-insured people are taking “personal responsibility” by subsidizing their health care on the backs of insurance subscribers. In this sense, people are already being forced to pay for others who have chosen not to get expensive insurance. All the Affordable Care Act does is force people to spread the costs more equitably. However, I’m concerned that our system does not necessarily have my best interest in mind.

    As David Goldhill (admitted Democrat) writes for the Atlantic, the health care system is convoluted with misplaced incentives. The current system operates, he suggests, like a monopoly where it can charge whatever costs it wants without providing the kind of care that could be achieved under a freer market.

    I’m divided on this issue. On the one hand, people aren’t always responsible, but as the market shows, people are choosing the path of least resistance. On the other hand, perhaps the health care system is too monopolistic, and a bit of competition will make the system more *cough* healthy.

    Either way, we need to try something. And the disappointment found in representatives is that indoctrination prevents the flexibility we need now. No one has the answer and at this point we are just making it up as we go. So why not try something, and if it works keep it. If not, throw it away and go to plan b.

    Both Romney and Obama poorly represent participatory politics as we crawl through the election season, but then, how much bombast is due to campaigning?

  2. Phil Phil July 2, 2012

    One could always take the money out of tax and pay doctors directly thus cutting out the profit of insurance companies.

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