By Calvin Wolf
According to the Wall Street Journal, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a more solid supporter of the individual mandate portion of the state's health care act than he claims today as the Republican presidential candidate. The individual mandate, often discussed as part of President Barack Obama's legislative attempts to provide more public health care coverage, requires individuals to purchase health insurance. Though Romney claims the White House attempts to increase public health care coverage are a bad idea that he would repeal, old emails show Romney was a solid backer of the individual mandate.
Romney has distanced himself from his individual mandate days in 2006 since beginning his lengthy bid to become the Republican nominee for president. His flip-flopping on the individual mandate coupled with his lengthy bid for the GOP nomination makes me think Romney's ambitions are more about power than public service. While I understand Romney must differentiate himself from Obama in terms of policy goals, disdaining his health care legislation as governor is ludicrous.
If Romney were about public service he would highlight his lengthy efforts as governor of Massachusetts and emphasize how his health care package was better for the nation. Instead, he has distanced himself from it by saying each state should determine its health care laws, an outdated concept that seems rooted in the early- to mid-1800s. He has taken something he created and tried to hide it to appeal to conservative voters and donors. Were he not so power hungry, Romney might have taken the time to tailor his health care message, asserting he was the original proponent of increasing health care coverage as part of fiscal conservatism.
The individual mandate, which would eliminate freeloading, can be argued as a paragon of conservative values. Everyone pays for their own health care coverage instead of ditching on the bill and leaving taxpayers to make up for the shortfall. Romney should have taken this approach, but he appears so desperate for conservative support that he acted rashly.