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.