Obama: Romney is just “pretending” his health care plan was different than mine

posted at 1:20 pm on March 22, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Just as conservatives have always warned, if the GOP nominates Mitt Romney for president, the current president will try to use him as a scapegoat for Obamacare. Proof:

“We designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans, including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different,” the president said.

The Massachusetts plan served as a model for the Affordable Care Act, signed two years ago Friday. Romney, the state’s former governor, has since said the legislation was the correct course for his state but not meant as a model for a national overhaul. But the plan has proved a focal point of criticism aimed at the GOP frontrunner.

In Thursday’s interview, Obama said Republican opposition to the plan, including the Supreme Court challenge, is politically motivated.

Maybe “scapegoat” isn’t exactly the best word. In this interview, Obama was extolling the virtues of Obamacare and tying Romney to it, so maybe he was actually trying to share “credit” for the health care overhaul.

Either way, the only defense Romney has offered for Romneycare — still — is that he signed it into law at the state level. Ann Coulter has argued that that is an adequate defense.

But if for no other reason than that Romneycare included an individual mandate, it’s problematic. Sure, a mandate at the state level is constitutional, but, in case you’ve forgotten, a federal mandate to buy insurance is not constitutional. Moreover, once upon a time, Romney explicitly expressed support for a national mandate.

It’s been two years since the president signed Obamacare into law and, for two years, conservatives have known Romney would be in trouble for the way Romneycare connects him to the least-liked entitlement program in the nation’s history. Two years and I still don’t see how Romney gets around this issue.

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrohm says the campaign will clear its Etch a Sketch for the general election, but no magic and no messaging will erase Romneycare. It has been and will be his Achilles heel unless and until he completely disavows it.

Phil Kerpen is hopeful that Romney can win Obama in the “battle of the health care flip-floppers,” but I’m not so sure. Will undecideds who despise Obamacare look at Romney and see a clear difference? It’s the same question that’s plagued the Romney campaign from Day One. So, why won’t he do something about it and disavow Romneycare completely?

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