Obamacare Exposed as GOP Plot
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY CAN’T HIDE HIS MOST INSIDIOUS FLIP-FLOP
Mitt Romney is such a liar. The contradictory garbage spewing out of this hack on healthcare has set a new standard for deception even for a power-hungry politician desperate to be President. Whatever you think about healthcare policy—and I for one am opposed to the stated plans of both Barack Obama and his Republican challenger because they do nothing to control costs while forcing consumers to buy coverage at inflated rates—it is Romney’s willingness to outright lie over his flip-flops on this issue that is most troubling in considering whether or not he merits being President.
Mitt thought he could get away with those lies concerning his sorry record as governor of Massachusetts because he had his staff destroy electronic messages and other key information documenting it. “When Mitt Romney left office as Massachusetts governor,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “his aides removed all e-mails from a server computer in the governor’s office, and purchased and carted off hard drives from 17 stateowned personal computers.”
But in June of this year, the newspaper obtained a treasure trove of incriminating evidence that had survived the purge. The Wall Street Journal proceeded to publish a devastating exposé based on e-mails that proved it was Mitt Romney who on the state level pioneered the identical healthcare reforms he now blasts Barack Obama for having signed into federal law. The same provision for an individual mandate requiring everyone to purchase health insurance coverage from private insurers, which is the source of controversy over what Republicans have attempted to denigrate as “socialistic Obamacare,” originated with Mitt Romney.
As the e-mails prove, it was then- Governor Romney who first championed this idea as an alternative to the public option being pushed by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), which was based on an expansion of the government-sponsored Medicare program to supplement private coverage. Romney’s idea that everyone in Massachusetts be forced to purchase healthcare insurance from private insurance companies came out of the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank as a way of killing any expansion of a public option.
The e-mails confirm that the Democrats in Massachusetts, led by Kennedy, were cool to the idea of forcing people to buy health insurance from private companies, but Romney pushed it through. Yet when President Obama abandoned the public option and modeled his national healthcare plan on the one Romney had developed for Massachusetts, Mitt denounced it as socialist.
Yes, his deceit is that blatant, as was revealed in the aforementioned Wall Street Journal exposé: “In Massachusetts, Mr. Romney didn’t include an individual mandate in his original proposal, but soon adopted the idea. The e-mails show his aides later came to champion it, even amid uncertainty from some Democrats. At the time, the mandate was a favored policy of the right, with the left instead pushing for government-run insurance programs.
“‘We must have an individual mandate for any plan to work,’ Tim Murphy, Mr. Romney’s health secretary, wrote the governor and several aides on February 16, 2006, in an e-mail analyzing the latest confidential Democratic proposal, which he wrote was ‘unclear’ about that requirement.
That Democratic proposal, obtained by the Journal, didn’t include such a mandate, and instead focused on ‘individual responsibility’ aiming to ‘encourage individuals to buy health insurance, not go uninsured.’”
There you have it. Led by Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrats favored a voluntary plan, leaving it up to the individual to make the decision. Meanwhile, the Republicans—led by Romney—wanted to use the power of the state and the threat of fines to force the individual to sign up. So it was Romney who was the socialist. The only thing he can properly accuse Obama of doing is adopting the Mitt Romney, Republican “socialist” healthcare plan and betraying the legacy of Ted Kennedy.
The requirement that all Americans be required to obtain health insurance—the so-called individual mandate—has, as a result of Mitt’s attack ads, become the defining issue of the 2012 Presidential election. Not because it is the most important substantive issue we face or that lining up behind such a mandate is the only valid choice, but rather because it leaves Mitt Romney exposed as a flagrant liar whose word can never be trusted.
Before serving almost 30 years as a Los Angeles Times columnist and editor, Robert Scheer spent the late 1960s as Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. Now editor of TruthDig.com, Scheer has written such hardhitting books as The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and
Weakened America and his latest, The Great American Stick-Up: Greedy Bankers and the Politicians Who Love Them.