Mitt Romney appears to have found friends in all the wrong places with his Thursday speech explaining why RomneyCare wasn’t at all like ObamaCare. The Massachusetts’ Democratic Party chairman praised the ex-governor for giving the right a “courageous” lecture on the merits of the state’s health care law.
“I think what i heard in the speech was a full-throated defense of Massachusetts’ health care,” state chair John Walsh said in a conference call after the speech. “To the degree that this is a position that many members of his party will not be happy with, from what I can understand, I give him credit.”Walsh added the significant caveat that Romney’s positions had changed several times in the past on the mandate issue as well as abortion and gay marriage, lowering his expectations that today’s speech was the final say in the matter. Nonetheless, he was quick to praise Romney’s impassioned explanation of why his state’s health care law was one of his crowning achievements as governor.
“It’s a courageous position to say that despite the consensus in [Romney’s] party ‘I am going to tell you the truth about health care, I’m going to tell you the truth about what an individual mandate means, I’m going to tell you the truth that it can be successful and the cost of it is not as great as we’ve been talking about,'” he said. “Absolutely Mitt Romney is standing up tot the right-wing of the Republican party and telling them he doesn’t need their support.”
Still, Walsh said he was most disappointed in Romney’s failure to connect his health care law as governor to a broader national agenda. In his speech, Romney repeatedly insisted that he would leave health care decisions to the states as president and that he did not support a federal mandate.
“I think the challenge is if this is such a good plan with such success here in Massachusetts, why wouldn’t you think it would be successful for everyone?” he said.
In an odd convergence, Republican Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who won his seat running against Obamacare, praised Romney in very similar terms to Walsh for not running away from his record on health care.
“Governor Romney showed a lot of courage today by standing his ground on the reforms he put in place in Massachusetts. What he did as governor worked for Massachusetts by getting health insurance to more people,” he said in a statement. “The fact he did it without raising taxes is a remarkable achievement.”
Brown departed from Walsh, however, in embracing Romney’s broader plan for a federalist approach to health care.
“He has laid out his plan for the nation, which unlike Obamacare does not require a vast expansion of the federal government and a half-trillion dollars in new taxes,” Brown said. “Instead, he would return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions, which is where it belongs.”