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Romney, In 2006, Suggested Mandate Could Be A National Paradigm Shift

The former Governor suggested the plan had implications well beyond Massachusetts, though he didn’t specifically suggest it should be implemented federally. “I think what we’ve crafted changes the national paradigm. It shows that you can insist on individual responsibility and market reforms to get everybody insured.” [UPDATED: The text has been changed to make clear that Romney was discussing a national, but not necessarily a federal, paradigm shift.]

Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has been under fire for a 2009 USA Today op-ed and three subsequent videos showing him arguing that the plan he put in place in Massachusetts, commonly referred to as RomneyCare, could serve as a national model.

But the 2009 op-ed isn’t the only time the former Massachusetts Governor made that case. In a 2006 interview with Human Events, Romney spoke in favor of the individual mandate saying the idea of using personal responsibility, in the form of the individual mandate, changes the “national paradigm” to show how the government can get the entire population ensured. Romney also says in the interview that his plan was more expansive than Medicare Part D.

I hear a lot of people say they don’t like the aspect of your plan that makes it mandatory for people to purchase insurance. Would you say this is the primary complaint?

There are a lot of people in our state who have been getting health care for free. These aren’t necessarily the poor. We have a program for the poor: Medicaid. There are those making $30,000, $40,000 and $50,000 a year who have learned they can get health care absolutely free and that’s not fair to everybody else. There’s a lot of people who say, gosh, you shouldn’t require people to get health insurance, but the problem is they always have the option of getting free care even without health insurance, and so we’re saying “no more free ride.” We’re saying that you have to have insurance if you can afford it and if you can’t, we’ll help you buy a plan you can afford.

Will your health plan go national?

I think what we’ve crafted changes the national paradigm. It shows that you can insist on individual responsibility and market reforms to get everybody insured. Personal responsibility and market reform get the markets to work for all our citizens.

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com
 
 
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