Mitt Romney: Proud of Massachusetts health care law
Mitt Romney rejected Mike Huckabee's call for him to admit that the "RomneyCare" health care program failed, instead saying he's "proud" of "getting everyone covered" when he was governor of Massachusetts.
"Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered,” Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, told the Boston Globe, in the first direct response Team Mitt made to Huckabee's criticism of the health plan in his new book.
As everybody knows, the problem for Mitt Romney is that his health care plan contained the very same individual mandate that he now claims is unconstitutional. Yesterday, his campaign explained why Romney is proud of RomneyCare but is opposed to President Obama's plan:
"What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare," Fehrnstrom added. "A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work."
One problem with this argument is that it ignores the fact that the health care reform law contains a waiver process allowing states to devise their own solutions -- so long as they provide insurance to all their residents. So while this bill does require near-universal coverage, it does give states the freedom to experiment on how to achieve that goal.
Another flaw with this argument is that it leaves Romney with the so-called Broccoli Problem. The Broccoli Problem is the centerpiece of the conservative argument against the constitutionality of health care reform. They argue that if the commerce clause gives the federal government authority to force people to buy health care, it gives the federal government authority to force people to buy anything -- even broccoli.
Now this is a bullshit argument. Those who believe the individual mandate is constitutional do not believe the government has the authority to force the public to buy broccoli. Health insurance is a unique commodity because everybody gets some form of health care whether or not they have insurance. As Judge Gladys Kessler argued in her ruling upholding the individual mandate, the decision to not buy health insurance is every bit as significant to commerce as the decision to buy insurance. The same can't be said of broccoli.
But Mitt Romney says he disagrees with Kessler's ruling. He says he believes the individual mandate is unconstitutional. In other words, Mitt Romney accepts the broccoli argument. If government has the power to force people to buy health insurance, he believes, then government has the authority to force people to buy anything -- including broccoli.
The thing is, Mitt Romney imposed a mandate at the state level. And if he really believes the individual mandate is unconstitutional at the federal level, that means he believes that state governments have the right to force their residents to buy broccoli -- or anything else.
Of course the real truth is that Mitt Romney is just doing and saying whatever it takes to advance his political career in the GOP. In other words, he's lying through his teeth.