In case you missed it, first Romney popped up on Meet the Press to tell David Gregory that he'd "make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage." Then there was a not-so-fast "clarification" from his campaign meant to placate the insurance industry, then there was a clarification of the clarification back to the original statement, then another reversal and then finally, what may be the actual position Romney has settled on: if you've already got insurance, and have had continuous coverage with no gaps, you can't lose it because you get sick from a pre-existing condition. You see the problem there?
That's right, millions will be left out of that plan, about 89 million.
A recent research project from the Commonwealth Fund explains why this distinction matters so much: There are tens of millions of Americans who lack continuous coverage.That 89 million is from 2004 to 2007. Think about how much higher that number would be for the five-year period since 2007, during which the economy crashed and millions lost their jobs and the insurance that went with it. Sorry, gang, Romney doesn't think you're deserving of protection from insurance companies' pre-existing conditions bans. You went and got yourselves laid off, after all. You made the choice to keep a roof over your heads and food on the table instead of paying your insurance premiums, so no insurance for you.
Last month, the nonprofit organization released its annual look at gaps in health insurance. It found that, between 2004 and 2007, 89 million Americans had at least a single one-month gap in insurance coverage. They were not, in other words, continually insured.
That works out to 36 percent of the population between age 4 and 65. Some had longer gaps; about 12 million were uninsured for the entire four-year study period. A larger number–14 million–experienced one single gap in coverage.
What all of Romney's head fakes on this issue can't obfuscate is the fact that he'd leave tens of millions stranded without access to health care, on top of all the millions that will lose Medicaid eligibility under the Romney/Ryan plan. That would make the last few decades under America's disaster of a health care system look like the good old days.