Schieffer Lets Romney Slide On His 2009 Support Of An Individual Mandate

Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

On CBS Sunday morning, Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer gave a free pass to Mitt Romney's on his changed position on whether an individual mandate should be part of federal health insurance reform.

Schieffer's interview was the first Sunday morning interview Romney has done this campaign cycle with a show other than Fox News Sunday.

Schieffer asked Romney to respond to the assertion that the federal Affordable Care Act enacted by Obama is essentially the same as the plan that Romney enacted in Massachusetts. Romney responded that he believed an individual mandate at the federal level is "unconstitutional."

However, in a 2009 USA Today op-ed, Romney advocated for a federal individual mandate, expressly stating that the federal government follow his Massachusetts law as a model, a fact Schieffer did not bring up.

As TPM explained:

In July 2009, Mitt Romney called on President Obama to require Americans to buy insurance as part of his health care plan, using "tax penalties" as a backstop -- in other words, the individual mandate that Republicans virulently oppose.

In a USA Today op-ed titled "Mr. President, what's the rush?," which is also available on, Romney urged Obama to "learn a thing or two about health care reform" from his Massachusetts plan that contained the same policy, and touted it as effective.

"First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance," Romney wrote. "Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages 'free riders' to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others."


The revelation could damage the GOP presidential frontrunner, who has been attacked by conservatives for enacting a similar law as "Obamacare," but has defended himself by saying such an approach is acceptable on a state level, not a federal level.

Watch the interview from CBS's Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: When the Massachusetts health care law was put in, the Obama people delight in telling us that they based their plan on your plan in Massachusetts. It had a mandate. Do you think a mandate is unfair?

ROMNEY: Well I think federally, it's unconstitutional. But of course what I think is going to be surpassed by what the Supreme Court thinks, ultimately. But states have, under their constitution, the right to require people to either go to school or get auto insurance or in this case to get health insurance. We created a solution -- Republicans and Democrats, business and labor, in our state -- we worked collaboratively.

The president instead, on a very partisan basis, jammed through a bill -- didn't get a single Republican vote. Didn't really try and work for a Republican vote. And the people of Massachusetts, the most Democrat state in the nation voted for a Republican senator to stop Obamacare. He went ahead anyway and put this bill upon the American people. They don't want it.

I hope the Supreme Court believes as I do that it's not constitutional, but regardless of their decision, if I'm president we're gonna stop Obamacare in its tracks and return to the Tenth Amendment, that allows states to care for these issues in the way they think best.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Bob Schieffer
Face the Nation
Mitt Romney, 2012 Elections
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