Romney's latest flip-flop-flip

He tells Meet the Press he would ban insurers excluding people with pre-existing conditions, then says he wouldn't


Joan Walsh
September 10, 2012 4:00PM (UTC)

Never mind. Mitt Romney's support for a ban on insurers excluding folks with pre-existing medical conditions lasted about as long as a late-summer thunderstorm, and less than a Kardashian marriage.

Hours after saying on "Meet the Press" that he "liked" parts of Obamacare, including its ban on insurers' excluding folks with pre-existing medical conditions and letting young adults stay on their parents' insurance plans, Romney's campaign issued a statement to the conservative National Review Online "clarifying" his remarks:

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In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney’s position and that “in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”

Of course, "the marketplace" did not offer such features; that's why Obamacare required them.

And a few hours after that, the campaign clarified its clarification to BuzzFeed:

"Gov. Romney will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited," an aide said.

Let's be clear: Romney absolutely was proposing a mandate to require such care in his statement on "Meet the Press" -- or at least he was intending to leave that false impression. The plan Massachusetts adopted when he was governor, the one he said he'll replace Obamacare with, has exactly such a mandate. “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 a mandate against discriminating against people who have one when they're trying to buy insurance.

But now Romney is returning to the limited approach he's mostly touted on the campaign trail: making sure that folks with "continuous coverage" don't get dropped from their plans. But that's very different from making sure that someone with a pre-existing condition who loses coverage due to changing jobs or a family event can get coverage again. That's where the problem is, and that's one of the most popular features of Obamacare, according to polls.

So Romney tried to sound like he supports it, when in fact, he doesn't. I'm hoping David Gregory gets a chance to follow up, but that's not likely.

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Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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