Flip flop Mitt Romney strikes again, this time on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. Romney told host David Gregory that if elected president, he would keep portions of Barack Obama's health care law, referred to as Obamacare.
After months of Republican pledges to overturn Obamacare on Day 1 if elected in November 2012, Mitt Romney's admission comes as a major surprise, and will undoubtedly be used by the Obama campaign as fodder for attack during the upcoming presidential debates in October.
Romney told host David Gregory, "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company."
Romney still pledged to repeal Obamacare, but left viewers wondering how, if at all, his health care plan would be any different, given that he pledged his support for all the core parts of the law (i.e. ensuring coverage for those with pre-existing conditions). He said, "I say we're going to replace Obamacare. And I'm replacing it with my own plan. And even in Massachusetts when I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions with young people."
In the past, however, Romney has said his plan would not include this provision. Back in June, the Romney campaign had this to say to the Huffington Post when asked what Romney would do for people who enter the labor market with a pre-existing condition:
"Fixing our health care system means making sure that every American, regardless of their health care needs, can find quality, affordable coverage. That is why Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage. And for those purchasing insurance for the first time, he supports reforms that empower states to make high risk pools more accessible by using cost reducing methods like risk adjustment and reinsurance. Beginning on his first day in office, Governor Romney is committed to working with Congress to enact polices like these that protect Americans’ access to the care they need."
The implication here: Romney would leave it to the states to decide whether to offer insurance to those entering the job market.
The Romney campaign had better figure out how to respond to the Obama campaign on the issue of health care by October, when the two candidates will square off before millions of people on national television in the much anticipated presidential debates. Until now, Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare, even though it was modeled after his health care reform bill passed in Massachusetts, without explaining why his new plan would be any different. If the campaign is to save face and spare itself from embarassment in October, then Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should make it clear in the coming months what they actually do and do not stand for when it comes to health care.