FLASHBACK: Romney Indicated Support For Federal Mandates On 2008 Campaign Website

June 03, 2011 11:01 am ET — Jamison Foser

ThinkProgress' Igor Volsky notes that Mitt Romney has disappeared his once-signature health care reform from his official campaign biography:

The 695-word biography on Mitt Romney's campaign website highlights the former governor's business experience, his success in "salvag[ing] the 2002 Winter Olympic Games from certain disaster," and stabilizing the state economy. But it doesn't devote a single word to his greatest accomplishment as governor: enacting comprehensive universal health care reform in Massachusetts.

The last time Romney ran for president, he touted his health care reform prominently in his campaign bio:

In 2006, Governor Romney proposed and signed into law a private, market-based reform that ensures every Massachusetts citizen will have health insurance, without a government takeover and without raising taxes.

And his campaign website prominently featured two Romney quotes suggesting support for individual health insurance mandates:

That first one is interesting, as it suggests support for mandates at the federal — not just the state — level. Here's the context from that July 5, 2005, USA Today article:

You have to buy car insurance if you own a car. You have to buy home insurance to get a mortgage. Why don't you have to buy health insurance?

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney re-ignited that debate last month when he announced a plan to expand health coverage to all the state's residents, with a caveat that those who don't buy coverage could face a penalty.

"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.

Seems pretty clear, right? Romney's quote clearly indicates support for an individual mandate at the federal level. But now that President Obama has signed health care reform legislation that contains a Romney-style mandate, the GOP presidential candidate pretends he thought mandates were a "state solution to a state problem." But that isn't what he said in the July 2005 quote highlighted on his presidential campaign web site in 2007: "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.'"

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