Romney and Republicans are quickly coalescing on one key part of the decision: it's not a mandate, it's a tax. So all of the sudden, this is a tax hike. Interestingly, it's exactly the same structure as Romney created in his plan for Massachusetts. As late as 2009, Romney was touting this:
"Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar."And in Feburary of this year, the individual mandate in Massachusetts wasn't a tax, it was "personal responsibility."
"Whether you like it or not like it, it was seen as conservative to say that individuals who could pay for insurance should either buy their own insurance or help the state pay for their cost if they become ill but people shouldn’t be able to go to the hospital and expect government to pay for them. So we can have a discussion as to whether it’s conservative or not conservative but our view was that individuals had a responsibility to care for themselves, a personal responsibility.”It's personal responsibility when the state is asking for it, but it's an onerous tax when the federal government is asking for it. Yeah, that makes sense.
Romney's other big lie is one that the Chamber of Commerce has been pushing in various forms. At once they say 20 million seniors could lose their Medicare, though the usual claim—repeated by Romney today—is that 20 million Americans will lose their current health insurance because of this law.
He said that with all the certainty with which he always lies, but there's nothing certain about that. That comes from a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) report that actually says, right in the first paragraph, "the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—the health care legislation enacted in March 2010—will lead to a small reduction in the number of people receiving employment-based health insurance." That number is three to five million people over the next decade, not 20 million.
But this might be my favorite part of Romney's statement (transcribed while he was speaking, so it's not exact):
"This is now a time for the American People to make a choice. You can choose whether to have a larger and larger government making intrusions into your life... Or whether instead you want to return to a time where Americans have their own choice in health care."Choice, unless you're a woman making the choice to have a perfectly safe and legal abortion.