in the 2008 campaign
But if you are hoping he's going to address the individual mandate featured in the plan for universal health care that he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, you're probably going to be disappointed.
In the speech, Romney won't spend much time talking about Massachusetts, and the plan he signed that now requires the state's citizens to buy health insurance — an individual mandate that was included in the federal law and drives Republican fury. And he'll move beyond the explanation he's been offering so far about how he can defend the Massachusetts plan — he's said he's "proud" of it — and still oppose the Obama plan.
Instead, Romney will once again make his case for repealing federal health care reform and replacing it with something else. Basically, there's going to be nothing new in what Romney proposes, it's just that he'll be doing it in the guise of a major policy speech.
As Greg Sargent argues, Romney's approach is doomed. He's trying to deflect attention from the similarities between the plan he signed into law in Massachusetts and the plan President Obama signed into law last year by talking about a plan to repeal and replace health care reform, but the problem he has is the mandate he signed into law, and deflecting attention from that problem won't make it go away.
If Romney really isn’t going to back off Romneycare — and won’t fully repudiate the individual mandate at its core — then it won’t matter what he proposes. His speech won’t solve his political problem at all, at least with conservative opinion-makers.
They are angry with Romney because he employed a policy tool that they have come to regard as tyranny, now that it was used as the lynchpin for Obamacare. Romney has countered that his plan employed the mandate on the state level, while Obama’s is federal...[but] many conservatives don’t care about the state-versus-federal distinction he makes. They hate the mandate whether it’s employed on the state or federal level.
I'd also add that until President Obama took their advice, Mitt Romney and his supporters argued that what he did in Massachusetts was a national model. Check out the video at the top of this post, or watch this video of Jim DeMint in 2007 arguing that RomneyCare should be implemented throughout the country:Now, of course, Romney won't dare defend the mandate, and DeMint is eager to denounce it. The only question is who to believe? DeMint and Romney then, or DeMint and Romney now? Or, perhaps, none of the above.