From today’s Globe — at least two of Mitt Romney’s Republican presidential nomination rivals are publicly attacking him for his leading role in enactment of the MA individual mandate. Click here for the Globe article.
Mitt Romney’s top rivals reminded voters that Massachusetts residents had until yesterday to sign up for health insurance or face possible tax penalties – and criticized the mandate as unwarranted government intrusion.
Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in Florida yesterday, pointed out that Romney, who signed the landmark Massachusetts healthcare law while he was governor, has dropped the enrollment requirement from the healthcare plan he is pitching as a presidential candidate. Instead, he would leave such proposals up to each state. “Governor Romney does not want to do for America what he did for Massachusetts,” Giuliani said. “He has abandoned the idea of doing mandates for the entire country, and why did he abandon it for the whole country? Because it’s not a good idea.”
An aide to Fred Thompson e-mailed audio of a public service announcement reminding Massachusetts residents of the deadline and sought campaign contributions for Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee. [see Thompson's release here, which also attacks Romney for including abortion in the CommCare services]
Romney’s camp yesterday responded to the criticism: “There are those that just talk about healthcare reform, and then there’s governor Mitt Romney, who actually has a record of accomplishment on healthcare reform.”
“Governor Romney’s vision and record of accomplishment on healthcare reform includes utilizing the free market and innovation to get more people covered with private insurance while making care more affordable by reducing the number of free-riders and government regulations that are responsible for holding back the market and driving up costs,” the statement said.
Massachusetts’ healthcare overhaul has been a delicate dance for Romney. It is a major part of his record of accomplishments as governor that he is highlighting. But he has been disavowing more controversial parts of the healthcare plan, and has bashed Democrat Hillary Clinton’s plan, though it shares key elements with the one in Massachusetts. …
“I think mine is the ultimate conservative approach,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press this week. “The good news is we’ve proved that we can get everybody insured without the government handing out government insurance, and without spreading Medicaid to everybody, and without a government takeover of healthcare. . . . I’m the only guy who’s got a free-market way to get everybody insured.”
The story was also covered in USA Today’s and the Washington Post’s political blogs. The Post points out that the Connector radio ads, heard in New Hampshire, mention the individual mandate tax penalties: “the words “tax penalties” are heard twice in the ad, and when you’re running for the Republican nomination, those are never welcome words. Maybe the ad should be considered an in-kind contribution to the Giuliani for President committee?”