Many folks on Twitter are buzzing about GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement on Meet the Press about health care reform. They believe that Romney is guilty of a monumental flip-flop:
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[d] basis through their company.
Today a Romney aide attempted to clarify the issue:
In reference to pre-existing conditions, a Romney aide responds, “Governor Romney will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited,” and refers me to these remarks Romney made in Florida in June:
I also want to make sure that people can’t get dropped if they have a preexisting condition. . . . So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition and let’s say they lose their job or they change jobs, they move and they go to a new place. I don’t want them to be denied insurance because they’ve got some preexisting condition. So we’re going to have to make sure that the law we replace Obamacare with assures that people who have a preexisting condition, who’ve been insured in the past are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve.
This is a muddled mess, alas. From the statement above and from past campaign statements, Romney supports the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regarding continuously-insured individuals with pre-existing conditions. This law was passed 16 years ago and is not particularly controversial.
Romney, however, is on record as not supporting Obamacare provisions regarding uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions. In other words Romney does not want to force insurers to enroll uninsured sick people.
Some people on Twitter understand this:
When Romney said on Meet the Press that he wants to “make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage,” it came off as a clear dog-whistle assurance to independents nervous about Obamacare repeal.
In other words: Vintage, straddling Romney.
Allowing people to wait until they get sick to buy coverage defeats the purpose of insurance and undermines the insurance market. But Romney’s too chicken to say it out loud on Meet the Press.
To change your comments display name, click here.