Romney on Obamacare in 2010: Let's "repeal the bad and keep the good"

Just when it seems every last shred of evidence against a candidate has surfaced, a new iteration of a troublesome past position will appear. This will just fuel those commenters who’re convinced I’m anti-Mitt, but it has to be posted. (I’d repeat again that I’m genuinely undecided but that would just feed those who’re convinced I have a secret bias in favor of a particular candidate that I refuse to reveal.)

When Obamacare passed in 2010, Mitt Romney didn’t exactly have the same reaction as, say, Tea Party protesters. He was less immediately concerned with what the law represented — that is, a massive overreach by the federal government, a total takeover of health care — than he was with the specifics of the law, with the question of whether they would work. And, on several occasions, he went on record in support of the individual mandate — the very mandate that might now be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.

We already knew that Mitt Romney signed Romneycare — with its individual law and its taxpayer-subsidy-funded premium exchange — into law at the state level. If I had stopped to think about it, I might even have remembered that Romney’s original idea about Obamacare was to “repeal its worst aspects.” But that phrase — “repeal its worst aspects” — could be construed to mean Romney still thought the entire law was “bad.”

The sentence Romney utters in this video suggests he thinks parts of the law are “good.” As someone who on principle would oppose a federal takeover of health care even if it did lower costs and increase access, I’m not OK with that. Romney mentions “federal intrusion on the rights of individuals” in this video, but he never quite comes out to say that he thinks Obamacare should be repealed on that basis alone. I do like what he has to say about taxes and price controls, though.

Still, as a commenter at Ricochet put it, this is the real Romney. If he now says he wants to repeal the whole law, it’s only because he knows he has to satisfy the conservative base. Videos like this remind me why we’ll lose the potency of this issue in the general if either he or Gingrich, who is also on record in support of an individual mandate, becomes the nominee.

As you watch this video, remember: When Romney talks about an “incentive” to purchase insurance, he’s talking about the individual mandate and the fine that applies to anyone who violates it.

Update: I want to offer belated credit to Katherine Miller, who took the video in this post.