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?

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Members have made 89 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor

    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?

    • #1
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:47 am
  2. Profile photo of Snow Bird Inactive

    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.

    • #2
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:47 am
  3. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    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.

    • #3
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:48 am
  4. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

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

    • #4
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am
  5. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor

    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.

    • #5
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:54 am
  6. Profile photo of Paul A. Rahe Contributor

    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.

    • #6
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:57 am
  7. Profile photo of Ben Domenech Inactive
    Ben Domenech Post author
    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.

    • #7
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:59 am
  8. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member

    “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.

    • #8
    • December 17, 2011 at 9:59 am
  9. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member

    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?

    • #9
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:03 am
  10. Profile photo of Matthew Gilley Member

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

    • #10
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:07 am
  11. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    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.

    • #11
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:14 am
  12. Profile photo of jetstream Inactive
    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?

    • #12
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:30 am
  13. Profile photo of Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    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.

    • #13
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:41 am
  14. Profile photo of Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    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.

    • #14
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:43 am
  15. Profile photo of Good Berean Member

    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!

    • #15
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:47 am
  16. Profile photo of Todd Member

    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.  

    • #16
    • December 17, 2011 at 10:53 am
  17. Profile photo of SteveS Inactive
    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.

    • #17
    • December 17, 2011 at 11:03 am
  18. Profile photo of Gus Marvinson Inactive

    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.

    • #18
    • December 17, 2011 at 11:04 am
  19. Profile photo of SteveS Inactive

    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.

    • #19
    • December 17, 2011 at 11:07 am
  20. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

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

    We gotta draft somebody.

    • #20
    • December 17, 2011 at 11:29 am
  21. Profile photo of BThompson Inactive

    Ben, a few questions for you. Before romneycare passed, how did healthcare rates in MA compare to the rest of the country? Also, premium rates have increased dramatically in all states since the time romneycare passed. How much more have rates gone up in MA as compared to other states?

    • #21
    • December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am
  22. Profile photo of LowcountryJoe Member
    Roberto: More fuel for the rage pushing Ron Paul, when all the possibilities seem mired in statism and corruption his insane foreign policy appears as less a roadblock by the hour.  · Dec 17 at 11:54am

    I concur.  Though if I had a choice, I’d prefer Johnson to Paul.  A Paul presidency would almost ensure that any war the U.S. would find itself entangled in would first have to be formally declared by congress.  If congress did declare war [with Iran, for example] I bet that Ron Paul would execute it just fine.  Truth for me [at least] is that I prefer Paul to the other two clowns and I think Paul would do much better a siphoning the votes of the young folks and the independents.  And what of the SoCons?  It’s not like they’re going to run off to the Democrat camp [just yet] since Paul is pro-life.  But I do believe it would create a major plank realignment within the two parties; the Dems courting the SoCons who are too often [not everyone, mind you, but too many] squishy on fiscal conservatism.

    • #22
    • December 18, 2011 at 1:07 am
  23. Profile photo of Xennady Member

    So let me get this straight: If Obama gets re-elected we keep Obamacare. If Romney gets elected we also keep Obamacare at least until after the next election, and then assuming Romney wins re-election we get waivers of some sort. 

    I can already see what the GOP establishment will be telling conservative circa 2016: turn out and vote for Romney, or else your Obamacare waivers will never happen.

    Except I don’t think the GOP will actually be intact in that scenario. If Romney is so fond of Obamacare that he thinks waivers starting in 2017 is an acceptable plan just what else has Obama done that Romney likes and the GOP base hates?

    So I foresee Romney negotiating a waiver plan with Harry Reid- to much establishment fanfare- and going on to negotiate a VAT, an amnesty bill, more tax increases, etc.

    And the GOP will split openly and irrevocably. That’s a worse disaster than re-electing Obama, in my opinion.

    No, I won’t vote for Romney, period.

    • #23
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:03 am
  24. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Oh goodness Xennady.  If the wind is blowing left I could see that happening but I see the wind blowing right and if the ever malleable one gets the nod I will vote for him with trepidation.  My dislike of Obama and what I fear Obama will do next term is my driving force.  Romney could be effectively muzzled I think but I do share your concerns.

    • #24
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:15 am
  25. Profile photo of wmartin Inactive
    Xennady: So let me get this straight: If Obama gets re-elected we keep Obamacare. If Romney gets elected we also keep Obamacare at least until after the next election, and then assuming Romney wins re-election we get waivers of some sort. 

    I can already see what the GOP establishment will be telling conservative circa 2016: turn out and vote for Romney, or else your Obamacare waivers will never happen.

    Except I don’t think the GOP will actually be intact in that scenario. If Romney is so fond of Obamacare that he thinks waivers starting in 2017 is an acceptable plan just what else has Obama done that Romney likes and the GOP base hates?

     Dec 17 at 1:03pm

    My understanding is that Romney has said that he will seek full repeal of Obamacare through the reconciliation process, since it is unlikely that the Republicans will have 60 votes.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/10/12/mitt-romney-commits-to-repealing-obamacare-via-reconciliation/

    • #25
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:17 am
  26. Profile photo of Xennady Member
    wmartin

    My understanding is that Romney has said that he will seek full repeal of Obamacare through the reconciliation process, since it is unlikely that the Republicans will have 60 votes.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/10/12/mitt-romney-commits-to-repealing-obamacare-via-reconciliation/ 

    Excellent.

    So what happens when Harry Reid objects?

    I sincerely hope I’m wrong. But I just don’t have enough trust in Mitt “Oily Sheen” Romney to think he will actually be willing to fight through Democratic opposition to actually repeal Obamacare via reconciliation.

    Especially after this video.

    • #26
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:32 am
  27. Profile photo of Xennady Member
    DocJay: Oh goodness Xennady.  If the wind is blowing left I could see that happening but I see the wind blowing right and if the ever malleable one gets the nod I will vote for him with trepidation.  My dislike of Obama and what I fear Obama will do next term is my driving force.  Romney could be effectively muzzled I think but I do share your concerns. 

    Again, I hope I’m wrong. But I see disaster if Obama is re-elected and different disaster if Romney wins.

    I think Romney will shatter the Republlican party, leaving the left a weak, divided opposition to the left in 2014 and 2016. At least if Obama is re-elected the GOP will stay intact, leaving the voters a place to turn when and if Obama attempts to be a new Chavez or Allende, as Obama often fantasizes about.

    With Romney we’ve got a guy with bad political skills who really doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with the leftist agenda.

    That’s not a recipe for political success for conservatives, no matter which way the wind is blowing.

    • #27
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:45 am
  28. Profile photo of Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Doc Stephens
    Dave Carter: 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? · Dec 17 at 8:47am
    Well, it is not equivocation, it is not timidity, and it is not weak-kneed or a half-measured excuse for conservatism.  It is a balanced and thoughtful analysis of the significant and important ideological differences between Obamacare and Romneycare.  It is a response to a question asked by a reporter.  It was recorded last year. 

    You and your brethren on this post, are obviously looking under every rock to find reasons not to support Mitt Romney.  You even go to the extreme of selecting 3 seconds out of a 110 minute context to make your case.  The other 107 seconds explain why the 3 seconds should not be a problem for conservatives.

      · Dec 17 at 11:08am

    Doc, if you really think there are “significant and important ideological differences between Obamacare and Romneycare,” you should spell them out in a post. If we are wrong, instruct us.

    • #28
    • December 18, 2011 at 2:49 am
  29. Profile photo of Ben Domenech Inactive
    Ben Domenech Post author
    BThompson: Ben, a few questions for you. Before romneycare passed, how did healthcare rates in MA compare to the rest of the country? Also, premium rates have increased dramatically in all states since the time romneycare passed. How much more have rates gone up in MA as compared to other states? · Dec 17 at 10:44am

    I should be clear: Romney is not the author of the problems of high health care costs in Massachusetts. My objection is that his attempt at reform made the existing problem worse, not better. While the Bay State has been in the top tier of premium rates for some time, and premium rates have increased in all states, Massachusetts has exceeded the national average significantly. You can read more on some of the recent reports here.

    According to Sally Pipes: “A 2010 study published in the Forum for Health Economics & Policy found that health insurance premiums in Massachusetts were increasing at a rate 3.7% slower than the national average prior to the implementation of RomneyCare. Post-overhaul, they’re increasing 5.8% faster.”

    • #29
    • December 18, 2011 at 3:23 am
  30. Profile photo of James Of England Moderator
    Paul A. Rahe

    Doc, if you really think there are “significant and important ideological differences between Obamacare and Romneycare,” you should spell them out in a post. If we are wrong, instruct us. · Dec 17 at 1:49pm

    a: The three he spells out in the video, of which the big one is Federalism and the 10th Amendment.

    b: A fourth he doesn’t mention. You don’t have to buy insurance, but can get by with HSAs. Not sure why he doesn’t talk about this more.

    This video isn’t any different from what he’s said in debates and throughout the year, although he is a little more ambiguous in the video. It was clear at the time, and has been even clearer since, that he would repeal the federal mandate. It’s my guess that he might keep something of an exchange concept and apply it to his interstate insurance purchase plan, but that’s just a guess.

    • #30
    • December 18, 2011 at 3:40 am
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