In an interview with CNN in 2009, as Washington was debating President Barack Obama’s health care proposal, Romney said portions of the Massachusetts law could serve as a model for the country.
“I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans,” Romney told CNN. “The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.”…
But in that 2009 interview, Romney clearly defended the mandate, referring to it as a “requirement” that allowed Massachusetts residents to secure a “tax exemption.” In other words, if they didn’t sign up for health insurance, residents would get hit with a tax.
“In order to get a tax exemption that you would normally get, you gotta have health insurance because we want everybody in the system. No more free riders. Everybody is part of the plan. And that way, we get the costs down. We let people know that they never have to worry about losing their coverage,” Romney said in the interview.