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At a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mitt Romney previewed his approach to dealing with the similiarities between his health care plan in Massachusetts and the national legislation President Obama signed.
“If we get the chance to talk about health care, which would be fun, because he does me great favor by saying I was the inspiration for his plan,” he said. “If that was the case, why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you ask me what was wrong?
“I can’t wait to have those conversations and I’ll take it to him,” Romney added.
But Romney doesn’t exactly back away from the individual mandate:
“If somebody in your state who doesn’t have insurance has a terrible automobile accident … we don’t let them die in the street,” Romney said. “Guess who pays for it? You. The government.”
“We said, you know what, this free rider problem is a real concern,” he added. “That concept led us to coming up with an experiment.”
It’s hard to see how the federalism argument, which worked for Scott Brown, will hold if Romney continues to substantively defend the individual mandate, as he’s done many times before. And even if you make the federalism argument, defending the mandate as policy reinforces the talking points of those advocating the individual mandate at the national level. See this Laurence Tribe op-ed in Romney’s hometown paper, the Boston Globe.
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