Romney: He Planned 'Requirement' That All States Ensure All Are Insured

Terence P. Jeffrey | November 3, 2013 | 3:15pm EST
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa, on Dec. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

( - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who lost to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that if he had been elected he planned to have the federal government require state governments to make sure that everyone within their states had health insurance.

“But my own plan was to say to each state, ‘You've got a requirement to move to a point where all your people are insured, and where you cover preexisting conditions," Romney said.

Romney also said: “I had a very conservative platform. And that kind of conservative platform I think is the foundation of any successful campaign in 2016.”

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a law that required everyone in that state to have a government-approved health insurance plan that would be subsidized by the taxpayers for people whose income was below a certain level.

Romneycare has often been called the model for Obamacare, but Romney has rejected that characterization saying he would not impose one plan on the entire country. Instead, he has argued, such health-care reform plans should be imposed state by state.

On Meet the Press this Sunday, host David Gregory played for Romney a tape of statement he made on "Meet the Press" back in 2007 At that time, Romney indicated that when all was said and done, even if health insurance was reformed on a state-by-state basis, he believed the United States would end up as a place were government mandated that people buy health insurance.

Said Romney in 2007: "I think you're going to find, when it's all said and done, after all these states that are laboratories of democracy get their chance to try their own plans, that those who follow the path that we pursued will find it's the best path, and we'll end up with a nation that's taken a mandate approach."

Gregory then asked the defeated 2012 GOP presidential candidate: “You don't believe all the states should have adopted this, but you do believe that the entire nation should take a mandate approach. If it was good for Massachusetts, what's so wrong with taking it national?”

“Well, what I said there was precisely right, which is that each state should be able, through the laboratory democracy model, to put in place the plan that works best for them,” said Romney this Sunday. “And if they adopt the Massachusetts plan, terrific. If they adopt a different plan, that's also fine.”

A little later, Gregory asked Romney what he would have done about health care if he had defeated Obama and become president.

“What would you have done?” asked Gregory. “Had you become president--in my interview with you in the course of the campaign you said there were aspects of Obamacare that you would want to keep, preexisting conditions, et cetera. What would you have done? You've just watched the Republican Party at the national level try to de-fund it or delay it. How would you have dealt with Obamacare had you become president?”

“Well, I'm not president so I can't be so clear minded as to tell you what I would have done,” said Romney. “But my own plan was to say to each state, ‘You've got a requirement to move to a point where all your people are insured, and where you cover preexisting conditions. We're going to give you flexibility from the federal government level to help you be able to do so."

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