Did Romney Just Flip-Flop on What His Base Calls "The Slacker Mandate?"
I suppose this might reassure swing voters that Mitt Romney really isn't all that scary or heartless. On the other hand, is he going to have to back down in response to right-wing outrage?
Mitt Romney said Sunday that he likes parts of 'Obamacare' and will keep key provisions involving pre-existing conditions and young people.
"I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place,” he said on NBC's "Meet The Press. "One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like."
The remarks have huge implications and signal a marked shift from Romney's strong, unequivocal support for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which he hasconsistently held since the Republican primaries.
Well, yeah, he's been for (as he put it in a January debate) "complete repeal." But he's also been for (as he put it in the same debate) some sort of (unspecified) plan "that does care for people that have preexisting conditions. If they've got a preexisting condition and they've been previously insured, they won't be denied insurance going forward."
What he apparently hasn't supported until now is a plan that allows young people to be covered -- and not just covered up to age 26, as in the current law, but "up to whatever age they might like." (Really?Forever?) I can't find anything about young-adult coverage in theplan on his Web site, or in any of his previous utterances.
This is what the right derisively calls "the slacker mandate" -- a term used by FreedomWorks, by the Heritage Foundation, by Michelle Malkin. They're all unalterably opposed to it. So is he going to be forced to walk this back, the way he walked back a previous Etch A Sketch moment in a non-Fox TV interview, saying through his campaign that he doesn't support legal abortion to protect the health of a woman after telling CBS that he did?
And if he doesn't walk this back, will he start losing some of his base, which hates Obamacare more than anything on earth?
UPDATE: Why, you'd almost think Romney planned it this way:
Within Hours, Mitt Romney Takes Back Everything He Said About Preexisting Conditions
.... A few hours later, with approximately zero people listening, a spokesman quietly "clarified" what he meant:In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney's position and that "in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features."
So once again Romney gives a rare interview to a non-Fox media outlet and claims to hold a position to the left of his previously announced position -- then, almost immediately, his campaign says "April fools!" and we learn that wasn't his position after all.
If we didn't know that Mitt Romney was a man of unimpeachable integrity and character, it might seem as if he was deliberately lying to people who don't watch Fox, don't you think?
[Romney's] campaign later told TPM he wasn't signaling a shift in policy and was instead referring to his existing stance in favor of protections on preexisting conditions only for those with continuous insurance coverage -- not for first-time or returning buyers.