Mitt Romney Praises Obamacare After Campaigning to Repeal It


Mitt Romney offered a seemingly different view of Obamacare Friday than the one he offered throughout the 2012 campaign for President.

On Friday, the Boston Globe published an obituary of Thomas Stemberg, the founder of office supply chain Staples. Romney, whose Bain Capital backed Staples, had kind words for Stemberg, praising him as a “visionary” business leader.

But it’s Romney’s take on the creation of RomneyCare in Massachusetts which leads to a surprising statement. “Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney tells the Boston Globe. He adds, “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”

The implied compliment for Obamacare seems a long way from his position during the campaign for President. “One thing I can tell you, Obamacare is out,” Romney told Sean Hannity during a 2011 interview.

Romney left no doubt how he felt about President Obama’s health reform plan saying, in the same interview, “If I’m President I will repeal Obamacare.” Romney added that repealing the law would be a priority saying, “In the first day of my administration I will say to the Secretary of Health and Human Services ‘I want a waiver for all 50 states for Obamacare’.”

Obamacare has been widely credited with lowering the rates of uninsured Americans. However the progress of enrollment seems to have stalled at a level far below what was projected by CBO.

Analysts like insurance industry expert Bob Laszewski have suggested Obamacare needs to double enrollment in order to make the market sustainable. Laszewski also points to the string of failed Co-Ops as the “canaries in the Obamacare coal mine.”

Update: Shortly after this story was published a spokesperson for Mr. Romney sent Breitbart News the following statement:

Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for. I oppose Obamacare and believe it has failed. It drove up premiums, took insurance away from people who were promised otherwise, and usurped state programs. As I said in the campaign, I’d repeal it and replace it with state-crafted plans.

That’s in keeping with what Romney said during the 2012 campaign. The question is why he didn’t make his point about his friend by focusing on RomneyCare without bringing Obamacare into it. By mixing the two and praising the outcome of both he seems to have muddled his message that Obamacare was not a good idea.