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DNC: Romney's Health Care Confusion Continues

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the Democratic National Committee:

Smooth talking Mitt Romney keeps talking, but he still isn't saying what he would do to ensure every American has health care. Like the rest of the Republican presidential candidates, his current rhetoric focuses on using tax incentives to pay for private health insurance, an approach he once said could not work. But, as the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday, countless Americans with pre-existing medical conditions "could not be sure of getting coverage -- especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals." [Los Angeles Times, 11/20/07]

Instead of explaining what he would do to address those concerns, Romney has been busy trying to win over conservative activists by distancing himself from the health care plan he championed as Massachusetts governor. He called the plan "a conservative victory" as recently as 2006, but now denounces similar proposals as "socialized medicine." [Boston Globe, 4/26/07; Reuters, 10/5/07]

Lacking a health care agenda of his own, Romney has adopted President Bush's. Not only does Romney support the President's decision to deny health care to 10 million children by vetoing Democratic efforts to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)--even though Romney himself expanded SCHIP funding as governor--he has also recycled President Bush's failed plan for health savings accounts. [Kansas City Star, 10/2/07; Washington Post "The Trail," 8/24/07]

"Whether he is running from his own plan, flip-flopping on whether tax exemptions can expand health care or supporting President Bush's veto of an SCHIP expansion after expanding SCHIP in Massachusetts, smooth talking Mitt Romney's health care confusion is sending the American people a clear message," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Unless you are looking for another Bush Republican who will put his special interest friends and political opportunism ahead of American people, Mitt Romney is the wrong prescription for health care in America."

Mitt Romney: All Over the Map on Health Care

His Massachusetts Health Plan: Socialized Medicine or a Conservative Victory? Mitt Romney called the Massachusetts health care plan "a conservative victory" in April 2006. [Boston Globe, 4/26/07] Romney compared recent health care proposals by Democratic candidates to "a European-style socialized medicine plan." [Boston Globe, 9/18/07] But health care experts say those proposals are "just like the Massachusetts plan." [Reuters, 10/5/07]

Tax Incentives or No Tax Incentives? During a nationally televised debate on August 5, Romney said tax exemptions are not the way to provide health insurance to every American because many uninsured Americans don't pay taxes. But just two weeks later, he outlined a plan to use tax exemptions to expand health coverage. [Wall Street Journal, editorial, 8/27/07]

SCHIP or No SCHIP? As governor, Romney signed the 2006 "Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care" which expanded SCHIP eligibility standards to help achieve its objective of coverage for all residents. [Section 26 of Chapter 58 of Acts of 2006 at] As a presidential candidate, asked "If Mitt Romney were president today, would he veto the SCHIP bill as President Bush has threatened to do this week," Romney said: "Yeah. Yeah, I sure would. I'd veto it out of my belief that we should have every citizen insured. I put forward a plan in my state that gets every citizen insured... The right pathway to get everybody insured is to help people get private insurance. The SCHIP pathway is simply the wrong way. It's unfortunate the Democrats used this vehicle. It would have been far wiser to have a more comprehensive plan to have everybody insured." [Kansas City Star online, 10/01/07]

A National Solution or a Federalist Approach? "Romney's health plan as presidential candidate focuses on a federalist approach in which states craft their own programs." Yet he called for a national cap on medical malpractice awards: "I believe we have to enact federal caps on non-economic and punitive damages related to malpractice," Romney said. "These lottery-sized awards and frivolous lawsuits may enrich the trial lawyers but they put a heavy burden on doctors, hospitals and, of course through defensive medicine, they put a burden on the entire health care system." [AP, 11/20/07]

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

SOURCE Democratic National Committee
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