Reason: Yes, Mitt Romney Flip-Flopped on the Mandate

Reason.com makes a strong case that Mitt Romney did, in fact, advocate for health care reforms on a federal level. Mitt Romney Central disputes that claim, citing a 2009 Newsweek Op-Ed in which Mr. Romney wrote:

Center reforms at the state level. Open the door to state plans designed to meet the various needs of their citizens. Before imposing a one-size-fits-all federal program, let the states serve as “the laboratories of democracy.”

But after reading the back and fourth between Mitt Romney Central and those who accuse Mitt Romney of flip-flopping, I’ve concluded that while Mr. Romney would allow more flexibility to the states in administering the program, on top of it all would be a federal policy which either rewards citizens for purchasing insurance or penalizes them for not doing so. Even in the rebuttal on Romney Central, Ben Collins quotes Mitt Romney:

For the uninsured who can afford insurance but expect to be given free care at the hospital, require them to either pay for their own care or buy insurance; if they do neither, they would forgo the tax credit or lose a deduction. No more “free riders.”

and states:

What Romney is saying is that those who don’t purchase health insurance lose the opportunity to gain a “tax credit” or “deduction.”

Romney is not advocating a “mandate” of the type Obama used where people are fined for not purchasing insurance, and Romney is certainly not advocating a FEDERAL mandate of any kind

My problems with Mr. Collins’s argument are that it’s a false distinction between causing those who don’t purchase health insurance to “loose an opportunity to gain a ‘tax credit'” and penalizing them with a fine, it’s a dishonest use of semantics to call financial incentives to coerce people to purchase health insurance something other than a “mandate”, and imposing such a mandate is a use of congressional power even if administering that imposition is delegated to the states.

Even NRO’s Andrew McCarthy, a kinder, gentler hatemonger who usually writes about why Muslims can never be trusted, delved into this issue and admitted that “health-care extortion, by the way, is not Obama’s doing”. He only accuses President Obama of “fast-forwarding to the next logical steps.”

But the health care mandate is not a “fast forward”. It’s what’s required in order to make health care accessible to all Americans, other than a single payer system.

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