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Mitt Romney flip flopping heads
Whatever position he's taking today, you can be sure you're gonna be screwed.
Mitt Romney has apparently decided on a new strategy for dealing with the big issue of Obamacare repeal: confuse the enemy. Take every position possible within the course of just one weekend and leave them guessing. There has to be some strategy, right? I mean, the just-nominated Republican candidate for president couldn't possibly be running a campaign this incompetent, right? But no matter what Romney is trying to make you think about his position on repealing Obamacare, there's one reality: his actual, written plan will leave millions without coverage.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (28+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:57:18 AM PDT

  •  still being covered on most TV news as (9+ / 0-)

    Romney moderated.  What does it take?  Politico, too, has virtually nothing about romney camps "clarification."

    Open, but not gaping..

    by sgary on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:06:04 AM PDT

  •  Insuring people who have had continuous coverage (10+ / 0-)

    has been his position all along and he is back to square one. This is what he said on Jay Leno for example. The problem is that this is already existing law, so all he's saying is he agrees with existing law (pre Obamacare)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:17:52 AM PDT

    •  Not quite (4+ / 0-)

      existing law is, your current insurer can't cut you off.  Romney is either saying, or he wants people to believe he's saying, that if you have insurance now, you can buy a different insurance policy and the new insurer also can't refuse to insure you.

      So there would be two classes of Americans, the insurance haves and the undeserving, uninsureable have-nots.  Arguably we're already there, but it's nice to see the conservative vision so clearly illustrated.

      I just genetically engineer them, I don't nominate them for President.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Back from June 12: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, kwt3200
        ROMNEY: So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition. And let’s say they lose their jobs or they change jobs or they move and go to a different place, I don’t want them to be denied insurance because they have some pre-existing conditions. So we’re going to have to make sure that the law that we replace Obamacare with, ensures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who have been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve.
        Watch it:

        While the Affordable Care Act would prevent insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition beginning in 2014, Romney’s provision is far more limited — and would only protect Americans who already have coverage.
        As The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn has pointed out, the federal government already forbids insurers from denying coverage to the continuously covered through the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). But the measure has been seen as a failure because “there is no limit on what insurers can charge under HIPAA” and the law does “little to regulate the content of coverage, leaving the door open to insurers to offer bare-bones policies. In addition, HIPAA notice requirements are weak, making it hard for people to know about this protection.”

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:34:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Prior to ACA, there was a distinction (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, kwt3200

          between losing your job and changing jobs.

          As I understand it, if you had continuous group health insurance at your prior job, you couldn't be denied coverage by the group health insurance plan of your new employer.

          On the other hand, my personal experience was that despite continuous group health insurance coverage, I was unable to obtain private health insurance -- at any cost -- when I was laid off.  What I was able to get was my state's "high-risk pool" insurance: expensive, limited coverage, and a big deductible.

          That distinction is made by Jonathan Cohn in the article referenced (but not linked) in the diary:

          ... forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

          That last part (the one I’ve bolded) might sound significant. And it would be if Republicans were seriously thinking about that goal. But they almost surely aren't. Most likely, they are probably discussing an idea that Mitt Romney and other leading Republicans have been promoting: Making sure that people who have pre-existing conditions and already have insurance can keep it, even if they switch jobs.

          That distinction is critical.

          For one thing, lots of people end up temporarily uninsured because they lose their jobs or get divorced, for example, or because they can’t keep up with premiums. A plan guaranteeing coverage only for people who have it already would not help them. More important, making that sort of guarantee, on its own, turns out to be very difficult. We know this because the federal government already tried it, in 1996, when President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

          Cohn goes on to write that although HIPAA required nongroup coverage to be offered to eligible individuals, it didn't regulate the price or content of the coverage, leading to exorbitantly priced plans with minimal coverage.  In fact, HIPAA left the mechanism for this "required nongroup coverage" up to the states.  According to a Kaiser Family Foundation article (emphasis mine),
          In most states, insurers are not required to guarantee issue policies to individuals. However, under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, some insurance companies are required to guarantee issue policies to certain individuals, referred to as HIPAA-eligible individuals, regardless of their health status and disability. These individuals include people who have had at least 18 months of prior coverage, the last day of which was under a group health plan. They cannot have more than a 63-day gap in coverage, and they must have exhausted any COBRA or state continuation coverage for which they were eligible. Such individuals must be guaranteed some type of coverage. States can decide whether that coverage should be available from private insurers or available in some other way (such as through the state's high risk pool). Although federal law requires that coverage be available, it does not limit how much insurance companies can charge HIPAA-eligible individuals for coverage. Without a limitation by the states, this coverage can be very expensive.
          Romney's statements casually conflate the two categories:
          "I also want to make sure that people can’t get dropped if they have a preexisting condition," Romney said in a June speech. "So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition and let’s say they lose their job or they change jobs, they move and they go to a new place."
          Pardon me if I don't believe it.

          We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

          by NoMoJoe on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:22:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  conversation is about pre-ACA since we can (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kwt3200

            assume Romney wants to repeal it. He is agreeing with policy that already existed as if this is something new he's proposing

            "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

            by eXtina on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:34:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No, eXtina is right. If you go from one policy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, eXtina

        to another, as for instance if you change jobs and group health policies, your new insurer must cover all your preexisting conditions, if you've been continuously covered for the previous 12 months.

  •  Its Romney Roulette (5+ / 0-)

    Makes flip flop look like an old shoe.

    Hey Ryan, where you goin' with that trans-vaginal probe in your hand

    by 88kathy on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:22:25 AM PDT

  •  And here's Paul Krugman (20+ / 0-)

    From this morning:

    As of this morning, as I understand it, Romney has announced that he would guarantee coverage; walked that back; walked back the walkback; and it seems, walked back the walkback of the walkback.

    All of which reflects the fact that he’s got nothing.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:22:42 AM PDT

  •  My wife lost her coverage a month ago. (9+ / 0-)

    Kinda drives home the importance of this election.

    •  & for those in 50's like my sister who are (5+ / 0-)

      self-employed, just surviving, the insurance she can afford has a deductible of about $5k. When you are her age and until you turn 65 or 66, you would be likely to be uninsurable, if not going from policy to policy, for this is when often your body starts having serious problems.

      Happened to me, needed four total joint replacements in my late 50's to early 60's. Without Medicaid I'd have been turned into a pain-ridden totally housebound person.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 10:00:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  RMoney (8+ / 0-)

    Must have been a nightmare to work for in the private sector:

    Mittens: Underling, I think we should execute Plan A. Make it so!

    time passes...

    Underling: Sir, Plan A didn't go so well.

    Mittens: Well who the heck told you to do that, for Pete's sake? It certainly wasn't me. You're fired!

  •  The "actual position" = repeal. (9+ / 0-)

    What he is now claiming he wants is exactly how it worked before Obamacare.  Exactly.  To a T.  This is not 'keeping part of health reform.'  It is repealing the preexisting conditions reform in Obamacare.

  •  So does Meet the Press just accept the fact (9+ / 0-)

    that they were a tool in spreading Romney's lie?  Or was that the plan all along?  Are they chumps or co conspirators?

    “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

    by ahumbleopinion on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:30:22 AM PDT

  •  Romney's Problem On This Issue (6+ / 0-)

    is that suburban housewives who may be actually pretty well off really do not want their kids who have diabetes or mental health issues or some other expensive medical issue to be left on their own with no health insurance.

    So, if someone has a 14 year old daughter with Type 1 diabetes, they would like to think that some day she has a fair chance of getting health insurance, and if she cannot, then at least she can stay on her parents' insurance for as long as possible.  

    The Romney "repeal Obamacare" position was KILLING him with these mothers.  So now he has tried to assauge their concerns by saying, "Well, I support THOSE parts/ideas..."

    The middle ground is to say, "Well, for WEALTHY people I support those ideas."  Which is now where he has landed...until further notice.

  •  While Romney may have changed positions at (5+ / 0-)

    Ludicrous Speed

    Aetna still executed a Multi-Billion dollar deal recently which presumes that both the Affordable Care Act and Medicare will remain intact after the election. An Insurance company in a post 2008 Crisis world is not going to risk  Multi-Billion Dollars if there was a chance the ACA would be repealed.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/...

    Aetna's Coventry Deal Signals 'Obamacare' Consolidation

    NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Obamacare has another major merger, after health care giant Aetna AET buying Coventry Health Care CVH $42.08 per share, in a deal that values Coventry at $5.7 billion.

    The deal, which comes at a near 20% premium to Coventry's Friday closing share price and was announced Monday, is the second major health care sector merger since President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act was narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court in late June.

    For Aetna, a large provider of commercial and individual health care plans, the deal targets Coventry's Medicare and Medicaid customers, which are expected to grow under the expanded coverage of the Act. It also signals that healthcare giants are already planning for drastic change in the sector, even as the Act becomes a key campaign issue and presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he would attempt to strike it down.

    For Aetna, a large regional healthcare care provider, Coventry will add nearly 4 million medical members and 1.5 million Medicare Part D members to Aetna's membership, substantially increasing its exposure to government sponsored health plans. " We think that the deal is a good one for Aetna who has holes to fill in both its Medicare and Medicaid books and is able to do so at multiples well below what it would have cost to buy pure play operators," wrote Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Kevin Fishbeck, in a note to clients.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:31:29 AM PDT

  •  can we force Willard to watch SiCKO? (6+ / 0-)

    the people in that movie HAD HEALTH INSURANCE and still could not get proper health CARE

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    CALL EVERYONE YOU KNOW in OH, PA, FL, NC and TX. Make sure they have the ID they need to vote, and make sure YOU are registered and ready to vote!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:35:35 AM PDT

  •  How's business experience relevant to being (4+ / 0-)

    President if you have no fundamental principles on which to make business decisions? GM Day 1: "We're going to compete Ford into bankruptcy."GM Day 2: "We're going to enter into a joint venture with Ford." Schizophrenic business is one thing - schizophrenic nuclear world power is another, more frightening one.

  •  The "marketplace" failed in MA (14+ / 0-)

    That's why we got Romneycare, because insurance companies do NOT want people with pre-existing conditions.

    How could any sane person expect the "marketplace" to meet health insurance needs, when Romney couldn't even make it happen when he was governor of this state? If the government isn't involved, the health insurance companies will continue to do what they please.

    •  That's what's most baffling to me (5+ / 0-)

      about his statements on the "competitive marketplace". If that actually functioned to deliver access to health care for everyone (because everyone needs access to health care), we wouldn't need reform. It doesn't work, that's the problem.

      Romney's plan for health insurance in this latest whirlwind of positions, that those that have had continuous coverage will keep coverage is just another example of "I've got mine, screw you".

      There is also nothing in his plan that addresses the prohibitive cost of coverage so if you ever find yourself in the position where you can't afford that monthly payment and get dropped, you're out of the game for good.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

      by Siri on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:58:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I try to get out,but they keep pulling me back in! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr MadAsHell, Ekaterin, OregonWetDog

          Substitute that line from Godfather III with Romney as Pacino, and the Tea Party as the Mafia.  

           Romney is actually proud of HIS version of Obamacare, Romneycare, and he keeps looking for a chance to use it as an example of moderation that can help him move to the middle for the general election.  

           At the start of his campaign he refused to disavow Romneycare as a mistake, even though he had no shame about turning 180 degrees on other issues like Choice and Marriage Equality

           Shortly before the Ryan pick, his campaign tried to start a dialogue about the virtues of Romneycare in response to the Priorities USA Joe Soptic ad, only to be drowned out by the screeches of Ann Coulter, Queen of the Right-Wing Harpies.  

           The Meet The Press interview is yet another attempt by Romney to move to the middle on the healthcare issue, looking for an opening to cite his signature achievement as governor to show that he really does "care" about sick people, just like George W. Bush positioned himself in the middle back in 2000 by promising that he favored legalizing drug imports from Canada just as soon as we can be sure that it's "safe" (Eight years later, we were still waiting for the "Canadian Drug Terror Alert" to drop from Orange to Green).

           And once again, no matter how much Mitt "Tries to Get Out", the Right Wing "keeps Pulling Him Back In" to their tiny little corner.  "Don't they know I'm trying to win the general election, for Pete's sake?

           I imagine that Romneycare was the result of Romney's desire to use his governorship to prove that he could solve a national problem, thus qualifying him for the Presidency.  It was HIS plan, and he would love to brag about it just as much as he would like to brag about the hundreds of millions he made as a vulture capitalist.  For a man of his vanity, it must truly grating to be unable to even talk about his signature achievement without getting clobbered by his own party.  

  •  If you change jobs (11+ / 0-)

    and the new job has a waiting period before you can get insurance, that's not continuous coverage.  I wonder how many millions of people have been in that situation?

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:41:13 AM PDT

  •  What exactly does he mean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, happymisanthropy

    by continuous coverage?  What about the folks who are employed and insured under Aetna.  They are offered a new job which insures under Cigna.  Can Cigna deny because of pre-existing conditions because they have not continuously insured these people?  

    The man is an odious scoundrel.  If he is the face of the Mormon cult -- they should be ashamed.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:41:17 AM PDT

  •  I was uninsured (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TKO333, Siri

    For about two months when changing jobs in 1998. I was young, in good health, and knew that if something happened I could pay for cobra and be instantly retroactively insured.
    So, per Romney if something happened now, I could totally be dropped despite 14+ years of coverage.
    Millions of upper middle class and middle class people have the same story.

  •  "What all of Romney's head fakes on this issue (3+ / 0-)

    can't obfuscate is the fact that..." he is absolutely clueless about what to do or about what he would do, period.
    Most. clueless. candidate. for. anything. ever.

    You can make a lovely hat out of previously-used aluminum foil.

    by reddbierd on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:49:47 AM PDT

  •  Yes but he has (2+ / 0-)

    These right wing "Christians" like himself, Robertson and King are beyond any rational understanding of where they are coming from. They are so full of hypocrisy and lies that pyschopaths is the only word to describe them

    I am pro-life. Bring our troops home ALIVE!

    by Doc Allen on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 08:53:53 AM PDT

  •  In a marketplace where Cobra payments (9+ / 0-)

    for health insurance policies are more than unemployment checks, it is impossible to both eat and keep continuous coverage. He really is either completely clueless as to what issues people face in the real world, or just completely heartless.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:02:48 AM PDT

  •  The Romneybot doesn't take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou

    positions. The Rbot is programmed to support all sides of every issue in order to maximize the number of voters who agree with what he said at some point in time. By supporting all positions on every issue, management expects Rbot programming to produce optimal voting results because Rbot will have agreed with all voters on all issues.  

  •  romney sucks on healthcare (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OregonWetDog, Calamity Jean

    and strangely that could have been a good issue for him if he took the same position he had as governor in massachusetts.  Instead, he ran away from his record and now has an awful position on health care.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:13:53 AM PDT

    •  Maybe the best way to beat Romney... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OregonWetDog, kareylou

          Is for Democratic Pacs to run ads in swing-states warning that Romney has a "secret plan" to nationalize Romneycare after getting elected:

         

       "Mitt Romney promises to repeal and replace Obamacare.  But replace it with what?  Based on his record in Massachussetts, he would replace it with Romneycare.  Which in many ways is just. like. Obamacare.

           Mitt Romney.  The only thing he wants to change about Obamacare is the name.

           (Priorities USA is responsible for the content of this advertisement.)"

          The Tea Partiers would be so confused they'd just stay home on election day, and Romney would have to spend the rest of the campaign explaining why HIS healthcare plan was such a horrible idea and promising that he would never, ever do such a horrible thing again, anymore than he would strap a caged dog to the roof of his car.  Again.
  •  Perfectly put Joan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Mitt is selling snake oil and he's trying to market his health care "reform" any ol way he can, to appease the audience du jour.  But, it's the same old thing:  denying coverage so big businesses can load up on profit.

    There's a middle class in this country and Mitt wants to help corporations take money from the middle class to the point where the middle class no longer exists.

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:32:35 AM PDT

  •  "With respect to my opponent... (3+ / 0-)

    ...I'm doing my best to state his position accurately, but it's changed so many times, we're all having difficulty keeping up."

    -President Obama at the upcoming debate

  •  The reasom Mitt keeps tripping over and over (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, Calamity Jean

    is very simple...Health Care is not any ordinary product on the shelf. It does not fit pure economic dynamics. But the GOP thinks it should...
    ..economically speaking health care insurance should have the right to discrminate against pre-existing conditions, but the question becomes, should a nation allow it citizens to be bankrupt just because they had a lung surgery? We liberals say NO....because not everything in life should be about dollars and cents for christ sake...

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:44:05 AM PDT

  •  I'm having a hard time taking seriously (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Calamity Jean

    .. a candidate whose handlers are constantly making statements that begin with: What Governor Romney really meant when he said that - is..

    Then again - after Huntsman left the field, I was having a hard time taking any of the Republican candidates in the primary seriously.

    Mitt Romney is to Successful Businessman as Serial Rapist is to Successful Ladies Man

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:51:25 AM PDT

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