Romney Campaign Backpedals After He Says Nice Things About Obamacare

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There seems to be some confusion about what provisions of Obamacare Mitt Romney says he wants to keep, but some of that confusion seems to belong to Romney himself. On Meet The Press yesterday, Romney stated that there are "a number of things" in the President's health care reform bill that he plans to include in his own, once he gets the chance to replace it. Among the provisions that Romney said he supports is coverage for those who have pre-existing conditions, but then a spokesman later clarified that stance by saying that Romney would not pass a federal law that required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. He only meant that a free, competitive marketplace would provide for it.

When it was pointed out that we already have a free, competitive marketplace that doesn't provide those guarantees, the campaign issued another clarification, saying that he "will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited." We added the emphasis there, because the key distinction is that this would only apply to people who already have health insurance. If someone switches plans (like in the case of people who change jobs), the new plan must continue to cover them.

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The only problem with that statement is that, that provision isn't a part of Obamacare. It's been federal law since at least 1995 for people who have group coverage, or those who lost group coverage and are using COBRA. It doesn't help people who never had insurance (or lost it for some period of time), then got sick and tried to get covered. It predates the Affordable Care Act and would still be in place even if even the entire bill was repealed. The key part of Obamacare is that insurance companies can not refuse coverage to anyone on the basis of pre-existing condition. (As some have pointed out, if you are previously covered, the condition isn't really pre-existing, is it?) That plus the individual mandate, is the most vital competent of ACA and Romney's state plan when he was governor of Massachusetts.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.