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“Romney Wants Credit For Obamacare”: Mitt, ‘Without Romneycare, I Don’t Think We Would Have Obamacare’

Given the Affordable Care Act’s striking successes, it’s not surprising that its champions would look for some credit for bringing health security to millions of families. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and plenty of other Democrats have reason to be proud of one of this generation’s greatest policy breakthroughs.

It is a little jarring, though, seeing a Republican look for credit, too. MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin reported this afternoon:

In a surprising move, Mitt Romney seemingly took credit on Friday for inspiring the Affordable Care Act – after famously running as the 2012 Republican nominee on a platform of repealing the law.

Romney championed and signed a comprehensive health care law in Massachusetts when he was governor. Known as “Romneycare,” it had strong similarities with Obamacare, including a mandate to purchase insurance, but he had long resisted comparisons between the two. In a Boston Globe obituary of Staples founder and longtime Romney backer Thomas Stemberg, however, the former Republican nominee finally embraced the connection.

“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney told the Boston Globe. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”

And as a factual matter, there’s certainly some truth to that. Romney approved a state-based law that served as an effective blueprint for President Obama’s federal model. The two-time failed Republican presidential candidate has a point when he says “Romneycare” helped pave the way for “Obamacare.”

But that doesn’t make his new boast any less jarring. Romney wants credit for one of the president’s signature accomplishments – which Romney was committed to tearing down just a few years ago?

Those who followed the last two presidential elections closely may recall that Romney’s position on health care got a little convoluted at times. The former one-term governor initially said he believed his state-based plan could serve as a model for the nation. Then he said the opposite.

By 2012, Romney was promising voters that he would – on his first day in the White House – issue an executive order to undo the federal health care law without congressional input, regardless of the consequences.

Or to use Romney’s phrase, he vowed to scrap health insurance for “a lot of people.”

Three years later, however, Romney is apparently shifting gears once again, taking partial credit for the system he embraced, then rejected, then vowed to destroy, and is now re-embracing again.

And to think this guy struggled as a candidate for national office.

Update: MSNBC’s report added, “After an uproar on social media, Romney clarified in a Facebook post that he still opposed Obamacare, but did not backtrack on his apparent praise of the law’s expansion of insurance coverage and its ties to his own legislation.”

Romney wrote that “getting people health insurance is a good thing,” which he followed with some dubious criticisms of the ACA. To my mind, his online clarification changes very little about the substance of the story.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 23, 2015

October 24, 2015 - Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Mitt Romney, Obamacare | , , , , , , ,


  1. Barneysday said it all!


    Comment by lrfalstad | October 25, 2015 | Reply

  2. If he had the backbone to have taken this position in 2012, the outcome may have been different. This is one more proof positive that the waffling politicians who take position only after checking which way the wind is blowing never amount to much.


    Comment by Barneysday | October 24, 2015 | Reply

    • He ran away from the one thing that he did well and embarrassingly suffered the consequences.


      Comment by raemd95 | October 24, 2015 | Reply

      • I think Mitt really misses the spotlight, and just can’t help himself. He needs to insert himself in many conversations, even making himself appear foolish, as he does in this particular statement about Romney/Obama care.


        Comment by Barneysday | October 24, 2015

      • Agreed.


        Comment by Keith | October 24, 2015

  3. To be frank, if his taking credit will get Republicans to stop their asinine attempts to repeal it, then that is more than fine. He is right to take some credit, but this latest statement is his sixth position change on Obamacare. He had five during the election. Further, Tea Party leadership supported Romneycare with the mandate for the whole country and only backtracked when Obamacare used elements of it and Romney ran for president. Then, Tea Party Leader Senator Jim DeMint said both Romneycare and Obamacare were unconstitutional. This about as hypocritical as it gets, as DeMint was the staunchest Tea Party supporter of Romneycare. This should all come out for voters to see.


    Comment by Keith | October 24, 2015 | Reply

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