Romney: No Apologies for RomneyCare

The former Massachusetts governor defiantly argued that his state-based approach was different than President Obama's



Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Thursday refused to apologize for enacting a health care plan that critics say mirrors the one President Obama passed last year, defiantly arguing that his state-based approach was different than the president's and the right legislation for Massachusetts.

"I also recognize, a lot of pundits are saying I should stand up and say this whole thing was a mistake," said the Republican presidential hopeful, speaking at a classroom at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"But there's only one problem with that--it wouldn't be honest," said Romney, who championed the now-controversial plan when he was governor. "I, in fact, did what I felt was right for the people of my state."

Romney's comments came in a highly anticipated speech meant to deflect criticism from some activists in his own party as he prepares to launch his presidential campaign. While defending the approach he took in Massachusetts, he took pains to distinguish it from the president's program, which he said nationalized a solution tailored for a single state.

"Our plan was a state solution to a state problem and his plan was a federal power grab," Romney said.

The former governor's agenda, which he laid out in a USA Today editorial on Wednesday, focuses on what calls market-centric reforms that empower states to solve their own health care problems.

Romney, the presumptive early front-runner for the Republican nomination, has drawn withering criticism from conservatives because the Massachusetts plan included an individual insurance coverage mandate--the same provision that Republican lawmakers opposed in the president's legislation. Thursday's speech was a major milestone in his effort to answer those critics.

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Alex Roarty is a politics writer for National Journal.

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