On Monday, less than 24 hours before Ohio Republicans vote for their favorite candidate to run against Obama in the coming elections for president, Mitt Romney held a town-hall-type rally giving supporters and others a chance to ask questions to the former Massachusetts governor.
Mary Toepfer Wants Clarity
One Romney supporter, an adjunct college professor from Warren, Ohio, Mary Toepfer, asked Romney to explain the difference between the healthcare reform of President Obama, and the healthcare reform that Romney signed into law when he was governor. She explained that at the moment she was at a loss how to explain how Romney could be a true conservative if his healthcare reform was not really different than Obama’s.
“I understand that Romneycare was good for Massachusetts at the state level, whereas Obamacare is federally mandated,” she said. But “I don’t know what the fundamental differences between the two (are) and I really would like your assistance with being able to tell others.”
Romney explained several real differences between the two plans, including the fact that his plan did not severely “cut Medicare,” force religious organizations to pay for benefits which they find immoral, nor did it raise taxes.
“Obamacare deals with 100% of the people, it takes over health care for everyone. It’s not just about the uninsured, it’s about all of health care,” Romney answered. “It doesn’t make health care better, it makes health care worse.”
Ghosts of Op-Eds Past
In recent days Romney’s opponents have used a 2009 op-ed piece he wrote for USA Today about healthcare reform to try and convince people that Romney’s views on healthcare are virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s.
Romney stated in the piece that at least some of Obama’s healthcare plan was just what the country needed.
“Getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank,” wrote Romney in 2009. Romney also suggests using incentives and “tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.”
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney stated that, “Governor Romney has consistently said that his health care reform plan was the right model for Massachusetts, and that it should not be used as a one-size-fits-all national health insurance plan.”