Romney on Obamacare: “Repeal the Bad and Keep the Good”

I am absolutely stunned by the content of this video of Mitt Romney, the latest from Andrew Kaczynski. It is not from 2006, not from 2002, not from 1994, not from some campaign of yore when he was appealing to a different audience. It is from just last year, in reaction to President Obama’s health care law. Romney says: “I hope we’re ultimately able to eliminate some of the differences, and repeal the bad and keep the good.”

A couple of notes:

Romney applauds the “incentives” to purchase insurance in Obamacare, which he says “works.” This, of course, refers to the individual mandate. The “incentive” is a fine.

Romney also inaccurately describes why his exchange functions – again leaving out the taxpayer funded subsidies which are inevitably redistributed from other taxpayers. Of the 412,000 people added to the insurance rolls in Massachusetts since 2006, only 7,000 of them have coverage not subsidized in whole or in part by the taxpayers.

Romney says that the “rates are lower than they otherwise would be” according to this. That’s an item for further debate, but premium rates in Massachusetts are the highest in the nation and double the national average. They have increased dramatically since his plan passed – he really believes they would be even higher without it?

Romney claims that he opposes the aspect of Obamacare that will determine pricing of premiums – this is a bit of an inaccurate description, but even so, how does this not conflict with exactly the same policy approach in Massachusetts today, an inevitable result of his law?

In all, this is a very disturbing video given how recent it is. Considering that this follows on Philip Klein’s discovery that Romney plans to use a waiver method for the states which does not kick in until 2017, and leaves much of Obamacare intact, my concerns about Romney’s intentions have never been higher.

At the very least, Romney must explain to us what he means by “repeal the bad and keep the good.”

UPDATE: Philip Klein points out to me that this was consistent with what Romney was reportedly saying elsewhere at the time in 2010 – that he would repeal “the worst aspects” of Obamacare.

So what’s the good?

  1. Dave Carter
    C

    Could someone explain to me once more why this kind of equivocation, this kind timidity, and this kind of weak-kneed, half-measured excuse for conservatism is exactly what will save the country from the collective abyss toward which it is racing?

  2. Snow Bird

    Does Romney really want to change the country’s direction or is he just another statist who wants more of the same, just ‘smarter’? I’m inclined toward the latter view. Obama light.

  3. The King Prawn

    I just don’t understand why the guy insists on running a marathon with a corpse strapped to his back. I could get on board with Romney if not for this. The fine individuals at Ricochet have effectively countered all my other arguments about him except this one.

  4. Mel Foil

    Sounds like the difference between being pregnant and being “a little bit” pregnant.

  5. Dave Carter
    C

    The American people are opposed to Obamacare by a margin so wide Evel Knievel couldn’t surmount it, and our guy gets wobbly about it? Good grief.

  6. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    The simple fact that even now he thinks Romneycare with its individual mandate a boon is proof positive that he is a managerial progressive. The man we see in this video is the real Romney. If he now favors repealing the whole thing, it is only because he knows that anything short of this would be fatal for his candidacy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are that it really is a duck.

  7. Ben Domenech
    C
    Paul A. Rahe: The simple fact that even now he thinks Romneycare with its individual mandate a boon is proof positive that he is a managerial progressive. The man we see in this video is the real Romney. If he now favors repealing the whole thing, it is only because he knows that anything short of this would be fatal for his candidacy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are that it really is a duck. · Dec 17 at 8:57am

    I have to admit, this is the first video I’ve seen that actually amazes me for its content. Most of the time I just disagree with Romney on health policy – here, he’s outlining a position at odds not just with libertarians like me on the issue, but with the entire conservative base and the vast majority of Americans who want the whole law repealed.

  8. Aaron Miller

    “Another similarity is you can’t be denied coverage, insurance coverage, if you have a pre-existing condition.”

    When you force insurers to make losing bets, you undermine the essence of insurance as a self-sustaining business.

    “Ours [Romneycare] didn’t raise taxes.”

    Because you left the added expenses for future governors.

  9. KC Mulville

    Every time I get disgusted by something Newt says or said, I retreat to the myth of Mitt, but then stuff like this comes up. Is this any better than one of Newt’s grenades?

  10. Matthew Gilley

    “Governor Haley? Hello? … Hello? Anybody there?”

  11. Mel Foil

    Santorum should just collect these video bites, from Romney or Gingrich or Paul for that matter, for his commercials, and add the label, “Things Rick Santorum would never say.” Point made.

  12. jetstream
    Paul A. Rahe: The simple fact that even now he thinks Romneycare with its individual mandate a boon is proof positive that he is a managerial progressive. The man we see in this video is the real Romney. If he now favors repealing the whole thing, it is only because he knows that anything short of this would be fatal for his candidacy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are that it really is a duck. · Dec 17 at 8:57am

    Professor, does this video tip your thinking about the Newt-Romney dichotomy enough to lean towards pulling the Newt lever?

  13. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    jetstream

    Paul A. Rahe: The simple fact that even now he thinks Romneycare with its individual mandate a boon is proof positive that he is a managerial progressive. The man we see in this video is the real Romney. If he now favors repealing the whole thing, it is only because he knows that anything short of this would be fatal for his candidacy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are that it really is a duck. · Dec 17 at 8:57am

    Professor, does this video tip your thinking about the Newt-Romney dichotomy enough to lean towards pulling the Newt lever? · Dec 17 at 9:30am

    Alas, no. See what The Wall Street Journal reports in today’s editorial about Gingrich’s position on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. These guys are like peas in a pod.

  14. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Ben Domenech

    Paul A. Rahe: The simple fact that even now he thinks Romneycare with its individual mandate a boon is proof positive that he is a managerial progressive. The man we see in this video is the real Romney. If he now favors repealing the whole thing, it is only because he knows that anything short of this would be fatal for his candidacy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then the odds are that it really is a duck. · Dec 17 at 8:57am

    I have to admit, this is the first video I’ve seen that actually amazes me for its content. Most of the time I just disagree with Romney on health policy – here, he’s outlining a position at odds not just with libertarians like me on the issue, but with the entire conservative base and the vast majority of Americans who want the whole law repealed. · Dec 17 at 8:59am

    Among other things, it proves that, when Romney tells us that he never, never intended that Romneycare be a model for federal policy, he was not telling the truth. He does so in this video.

  15. Good Berean

    I think Romney’s political conservatism is similar to Scalia’s judicial conservatism; both are willing to maintain the status quo ante. What we need is a political equivalent to Clarence Thomas, who is a judicial constitutionalist. We need a more radical reform, but, alas, the American people seem more desirous of a roll back to the 1990′s not the 1790′s. Newt may be a rollback to the 1990′s but look where we got to from there!

  16. Todd

    To Mitt, we are just products that need to be sold and employees that need to be managed living in a Harvard Business School case study.  I don’t think the concept of individual liberty ever crosses his mind.  

  17. SteveS
    Todd: To Mitt, we are just products that need to be sold and employees that need to be managed living in a Harvard Business School case study.  I don’t think the concept of individual liberty ever crosses his mind.   · Dec 17 at 9:53am

    Exactly Todd, managers manage and that’s what he would love to do “for us”, only do it better. 

    Gingrich talks in those same tones when he speaks of “Six Sigma” management techniques though.

  18. Gus Marvinson

    Really, I just have to shrug. I learned nothing from the video. I knew this. You knew this. We all knew this. The question isn’t about whether Romney is a managerial progressive, it is about whether We the People are going humble ourselves and accept a consistent constitutional conservative with a plan to dismantle the administrative state. Tacit in this dismantling is a reduction in executive powers.

    The sad truth is that I do not see a candidate with executive experience that has a history of administrative reduction. Don’t give me the “Wherefore art thou, Haley Barbour” argument, either. Barbour loves him some redevelopment agencies, which are primary abusers of property rights in this country.

    A candidate’s turn to the right during a campaign means nothing to me and has zero bearing on how they will execute their powers once in office.

  19. SteveS

    Let’s not forget that the lobbyists have had 2 years to to work their magic on the Congress to keep Obamacare in place. As I have learned here at Ricochet, corporations aren’t really affected by new regulations as long as they can game the system, We Americans who value freedom are the only real losers in all of this.

  20. Percival

    So the two big guns are the squish and the flake.

    We gotta draft somebody.