It is popular these days for Republicans and Conservatives to score points with the base by attacking RomneyCare despite the fact that it was the Heritage Foundation who proposed the idea of individual mandates as a conservative alternative to Hillary Clinton's attempt to nationalize the United State's health care program in the 1990s.
However, there have been many conservatives, some who are considering running for President in 2012, who have supported RomneyCare. Some of them still support it. Others have flip flopped on it in which they used to support it and no longer do.
But here's a quick list of conservatives who have either supported or defended RomneyCare:
1. Jim DeMint
Jim DeMint endorsed RomneyCare back in 2007 during an interview in which he had this to say about Mitt Romney's health care plan:
Here's the key quote from the clip above:
Here's the key quote from the clip above:
"Well, I think that's something we should do for the whole country. The Governor just looked at the numbers like a good business man and realized we could give people private insurance policies cheaper than we could provide free health care. What that does is it spreads out the risk, gets the government out of the Health Care business, and actually makes the HealthCare system work alot better. The legislature in Massachusetts made it a little harder to make these policies affordable. But we've got probably over 20 states that are trying to copy what he did and that's a good sign that people think he's on the right track."
In fact, RomneyCare was the key selling point for why he decided to back Romney in 2007:
DeMint, who spent most of his life in private business, admires Romney’s business background and believes Romney has shown the talent to apply that experience to government. “He has demonstrated, when he stepped into government in a very difficult state, that he could work in a difficult partisan environment, take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured,” DeMint says. “Those kind of ideas show an ability to bring people together that we haven’t seen in national politics for a while. We don’t need the nation to be more polarized.”
However, Jim DeMint is now flip flopping on his support for RommeyCare. One of Jim DeMint's aide said this recently about RomneyCare:
A source close to the conservative icon emphasized that, despite comments to The Hill indicating that Romney shouldn't shoulder all the political blame for the Massachusetts healthcare plan, DeMint wouldn't endorse Romney again unless he admits the plan was mistaken."It's obvious Jim was just trying to be nice to the guy he backed over McCain, as many conservatives did in 2008," the source said. "But he would never consider backing Romney again unless he admits that his Massachusetts healthcare plan was a colossal mistake."
But Jim DeMint softened up his words against Mitt Romney and his health care plan by stating that it shouldn't be implemented at the national level:
"One of the reasons I endorsed Romney is his attempts to make private health insurance available at affordable prices. He set the goal that all folks in Massachusetts would have affordable health insurance. By the time it got through the Democratic state legislature, it had all these mandates on it, requirements about what kind of policies would be bought — the same thing that happened up here — instead of getting people insured, it was a government takeover. So I applaud the goal — my goal is to have every American with a private health insurance plan that they can keep throughout their lives. And so, I still admire him for taking on the task, but I think it's important to recognize that that's not where we want our healthcare to go. States can compete with different plans, but we shouldn't have anything like what they did in Massachusetts at the federal level."
In May of 2011, Jim DeMint is still trying to flip flopping his way out of supporting RomneyCare:
"I got involved with him before that," DeMint explained, "and the concept that was presented to me was the idea of moving people from government plans to private plans. That's what the goal was. That's how my conversations went, and that's how it was presented. But the way it ended up…" he paused to think about about this. "I cannot accept all the mandates, all the government exchanges. And it hasn't worked. I think the goal of figuring out how you can move people from government policies to private insurance policies is a good goal. That's one of the things that attracted me to what he was trying to do. Frankly, with the Democratic legislature in control there, I just think the way it ended up, we wouldn't want it in our state or our country."I guess Jim DeMint isn't aware that Mitt Romney has already explained that his plan was never meant to be implemented at the national level:
"He [Obama] never gave me a call. Neither he nor any of his colleagues [gave me] a call to ask what worked and did not work, and how would they improve upon it and so forth. If what was done at the state level, they applied at the federal level, they made a mistake. It was not designed for the nation."
2. Rick Santorum
Another prominent conservative who was for Mitt Romney before he was against Mitt Romney was Rick Santorum. He endorsed Mitt Romney during the 2008 Presidential elections. Romney's health care didn't seem to be a problem for him then but Santorum has issues with it now:
“I feel we need someone who is a strong, principled conservative who believes not in government mandates, not in government control of the health care system, but in a patient-centered approach to health care,” Santorum said.Santorum added that both the state and federal laws "tend to drive employers out of the private sector plans because they’re expensive and more people end up on the government plan."“Ultimately, it’s a failure," Santorum said.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post makes accurate observation about those conservatives who have flipped flopped on RomneyCare:
Many candidates are attacking RomneyCare for political expediency. And the voters will know it.They will see right through it. Moreover, many will accuse them of flip flopping on the issue of RomneyCare. Any attempt to establish conservative cred will not help them but hurt them in 2012."Really, is there anything more amusing in politics today than watching conservatives abandon Mitt Romney at a furious rate because he had the misfortune of passing a health plan with a Republican idea at its core that, unbeknownst to him, Obama would shortly adopt as his own?"..."You see, there was a time when conservatives like Jim DeMint hailed Romney as a true conservative precisely because his health care bill was built on what they said were conservative principles. But now that Obama has reinvented the individual mandate as tyranny, conservatives are beating up on Romney and Romneycare as a convenient way to burnish their own conservative cred with the base."
However, not all conservatives have flipped flopped on RomneyCare. Others have remained consistent in their support for Mitt's Health Care plan as we continue with our list:
3. Newt Gingrich
Jim DeMint isn't the only Republican who has endorsed or defended Romney Care. Another potential 2012 candidate who defended Mitt's health care plan was Newt Gingrich.
The former speaker of the House defended RomneyCare during an interviewed to be aired on an edition of the The Brody File on CBN. Here's what he had to say about RomneyCare:
“Governor Romney’s made very clear that he favors absolute repeal of Obamacare and that he believes it’s not accurate and not fair to try and compare the two and I think you have to start with that and I also think in all fairness to Governor Romney that he vetoed many provisions that the liberal Democrats in the Massachusetts state legislature added to the bill and they overrode his veto so I think if you’re going to go back and look at the original Romney bill you’d have a much better bill and a much more practical bill than what the liberal Democrats did to the legislation because they literally overrode his veto on a whole series of items.”
4. Tim Pawlenty
Newt Gingrich isn't the only potential 2012 candidate to either support or defend Romney Care. Tim Pawlenty was very specific in his endorsement and listed certain parts of Romney's health care plan that he really liked such as the “health care exchange” and an individual mandate.
5. Rick Perry
Another Republican who is often talked about as a potential 2012 candidate is Rick Perry. While Rick Perry never mentions Mitt Romney by name, he does borrow a defense that Mitt Romney uses in defending RomneyCare. Rick Perry argues that states like Texas have a right to implement their own health care plans and that health care reform should be done at the state level and not the federal level.
6. Marco Rubio:
Marco Rubio, a rising star in the Republican party, has also defended RomneyCare. Here's what he had to say about it:
“It’s a work in progress,” Rubio says, speaking of the Bay State program. “There are major distinctions between that and what Obama is trying to do in Washington. For one, it didn’t raise any taxes. Number two, it is not adding to our deficit. That is my biggest objection to Obamacare, although there are many others. My number-one objection to Obamacare is that we can’t afford it, even if it was the greatest idea in the world.”“Florida and Massachusetts are very different places,” Rubio continues. “All I would say to you is that states were designed to be laboratories for creative thoughts and ideas. That’s what the Framers of our great republic intended. They wanted the states to be the places that came up with innovation and competition. And I’ll tell you what, if Massachusetts gets it wrong and Florida gets it right, people will move to Florida, and businesses will move to Florida, and vice versa. There are just major distinctions between what’s happening in Washington and what I hope states will do. Like I said, what I’m not in favor of is what Barack Obama has done, which is to raise taxes and add to the federal deficit in exchange of taking a step toward a single-payer system in America.”
8. Scott Brown:Scott Brown, a Republican who was elected to take Senator Kennedy's seat, also defended RomneyCare:
9. Former Senator Judd Gregg and Senator Orrin Hatch also liked RomneyCare:
Senator Judd Gregg and Orin Hatch both like Mitt Romney's health care plan and don't think it will be a problem for him in the 2012 elections:
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a 2008 Romney supporter who says he’s still a “big fan” of Romney’s, said healthcare will not be a major deal in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“I don’t think the healthcare bill has a high visibility in the state, but Gov. Romney does,” said Gregg, now a columnist for The Hill.
“I think he’s managed it pretty well,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a longtime Romney backer who will support the former governor again in 2012. “There’s a difference between the federal government usurping power than for [a state] to do what is its right to do.”
As 2012 rolls around, its worth keeping track of which conservative supported, which ones didn't and which ones flipped flopped on the issue. Its also worth remembering for the upcoming election that Obama pretended to model his healthcare plan after Massachusetts even though he also has flipped flopped on this issue as well.