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Igor Volsky: Mitt Romney's Consistent And Repeated Support For A National Health Care Mandate

Igor Volsky:

TIMELINE: Mitt Romney's Consistent And Repeated Support For A National Health Care Mandate | ThinkProgress: TDuring a speech on health policy later this afternoon, likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to say that while Massachusetts’ 2006 health care law has been successful in expanding coverage to most residents, it should not be duplicated on a national level. Romney will lay out a proposal to encourage states to deregulate insurance markets, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and develop their own unique health care policies.

Until recently, Romney has advanced the belief that encouraging Americans to take responsibility for their health care costs, rather than passing the cost of coverage to society, is “the ultimate conservative idea” and “a Republican way.” “The Republican approach is to say, you know what? Everybody should have insurance. They should pay what they can afford to pay. If they need help, we will be there to help them, but no more free ride,” Romney told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on April 12, 2006 during a national media tour promoting his groundbreaking 2006 health care reform law.

Romney was asked many times if he thought his plan for expanding coverage by requiring Americans to purchase health insurance should apply to the nation. He repeatedly either hinted or directly stated that it could or should. It’s a position he first adopted in his challenge to Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994. At that time, Romney said he would support a mandate on a national level if universal coverage could not be achieved through other means (such as providing tax incentives to purchase care) and would have voted for a Republican alternative to the Clinton plan offered by then Sen. John Chafee (R-RI), which included a national individual mandate. In fact, as recently as December 2007, Romney said that if other states adopted the individual mandate, it would be “a terrific idea… we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach” and endorsed the Wyden-Bennett health care proposal, which also included a national individual mandate:

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