If the GOP conservatives were distraught over the last few days because Mitt Romney selected Michael Leavitt (a supporter of parts of Obamacare) to head his transition team should he win in November, then they will be in full buyer’s remorse after reading today’s story in the Wall Street Journal.
Calling for the full repeal of national healthcare reform has been developed into a reflexive mantra of the Republican Party base. Mr. Romney is still having difficulty securing the love of conservatives because of his past support in Massachusetts of much of what is in Obamacare including the individual mandate.
So even while the GOP Presidential nominee calls for total repeal of Obamacare from the stage, Mr. Leavitt’s appointment caused quite a push-back from conservatives and raised their suspicion of Mr. Romney even higher.
But today’s Wall Street Journal story is more than just more fuel for the ABR primary voters (Anybody but Romney); it is an educational opportunity for the public and even the Supreme Court.
In spite of the Romney gubernatorial staff efforts to erase every trace of emails during his term of office in Massachusetts (they had every email on the governor’s office server computer removed and bought 17 hard drives from personal computers owned by the state—so much for transparency), the Wall Street Journal found a Romney cabinet member who obviously couldn’t find the delete button.
The emails obtained by the paper show Governor Romney and his aides as big supporters of the individual mandate within their healthcare reform plan. Mr. Romney was intimately involved in creating every detail of the plan and pushed the mandate onto reluctant state Democrats.
In one uncovered email a top healthcare aide to Governor Romney wrote, “We must have an individual mandate for any plan to work.” Mr. Romney himself drafted an opinion editorial to run the day before he signed his healthcare reform legislation. In that piece Mr. Romney says, “Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.”
After Governor Romney signed his healthcare reform—individual mandate and all—into law, he sent the same top healthcare aide an email saying (according to the Wall Street Journal story), “Quite a day! … You have made a huge difference, for me and for hundreds of thousands of people who will have healthier and happier lives… Best, Mitt”
That is the message the country and the Supreme Court needs to hear.