Mitt Romney, who passed a health-care reform package in Massachusetts that helped inspire national Democrats' own health-care overhaul, has repeatedly vowed to conservatives that he will repeal ObamaCare if he's elected president. So on Sunday, when Romney said on Meet the Press that he would keep some elements of President Obama's health-care overhaul, it caused quite a stir. "I'm not getting rid of all of health-care reform," Romney said. "There are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I'm going to put in place." Among those things: Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plans, and guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Shortly after the interview, a Romney campaign spokesman quickly explained that Romney was merely reiterating his intention to replace Obama's law with his own plan, and that Romney would actually only guarantee coverage to people with pre-existing conditions who have maintained continuous coverage. What should we make of Romney's position on ObamaCare?
Romney is not flip-flopping: Romney isn't backing away from his promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare, says Yuval Levin at National Review. He has always sought to protect people with pre-existing conditions. By focusing on those who have kept themselves covered, he's hoping to create "a powerful incentive for the young and healthy to obtain insurance," instead of doing it with a mandate. Political reporters are only treating this as "earth-shattering news" because they haven't bothered to learn what Romney's plan actually is.
Well, his rhetoric sure has changed: Romney's plan might be the same, says Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic, but his tone is definitely softening. In the primaries, he focused on his promise to scrap Obama's health-care law. Now he's all about persuading moderate, general-election voters that "he's full of concern for people who, because of a medical problem, can't get affordable health care." Gunning for ObamaCare might have been a winner in the GOP primaries, but Romney knows "it may be a political problem now."
"Did Romney flip-flop (again) on health care?"
And Team Romney's response isn't helping matters: Whatever Romney's motivation, says Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast, he's makes it harder to understand what his position on health care really is. The bottom line is that he appeared to make a striking move to the center on Sunday, only to have his campaign sputter into "what-he-really-meant-to-say mode." That kind of somersault will inevitably feed the narrative that Romney's tendency to change his policy to suit the polls "is itself a pre-existing condition."
"Mitt Romney muddles his message on health care"
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