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Monday, June 18, 2012

Emails Reveal Romney’s Strong Backing Of Individual Mandate At State Level

Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a news conference about the state's universal health insurance program in Boston in 2006. (AP)

New emails obtained by the Wall Street Journal show just how strongly Mitt Romney pushed for the individual mandate while he was negotiating healthcare reform in Massachusetts.

President Obama has repeatedly said he fashioned his health care reform act on the Massachusetts plan, including the mandate, which requires that everyone buy health insurance.

Romney has now distanced himself from the Mass. healthcare law that he helped author, and as recently as this weekend he decried the individual mandate at the federal level as unconstitutional.

One email, containing a draft op-ed article for the Wall Street Journal, showed that Romney was an ardent defender of the individual mandate:

Using an argument deployed today by the Obama administration, Mr. Romney defended the mandate by noting that taxpayers generally foot the bill when the uninsured seek health care.

“Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian,” the published op-ed stated. In a line that didn’t make the edited version, Mr. Romney added: “An uninsured libertarian might counter that he could refuse the free care, but under law, that is impossible—and inhumane.”

It’s remarkable that these emails even exist. When Romney left office, some of his aides removed all emails from a server computer in the governor’s office and bought hard drives from state-owned computers.

While wiping out the emails has not been deemed illegal, it has been controversial.

The recently revealed emails were on another server that the aides missed, and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Wall Street Journal.

Guest:

  • Mark Maremont, Wall Street Journal senior editor

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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