David Frum

09.27.12

Why Shouldn't Romney Talk About Romneycare?

Mitt Romney to NBC on Wednesday:

"I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don't forget -- I got everybody in my state insured," Romney told NBC's Ron Allen in an interview before his rally here tonight. "One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record."

Right! Good! But while today's words are welcome, they coexist uncomfortably with the healthcare platform to which Mitt Romney has committed himself.

It is a program for narrower healthcare coverage, not broader. Romney himself acknowledged as much in his "60 Minutes" interview, when he cited emergency room care as the alternative for the uninsured.

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The case for Romney was that, as the author of Romneycare, he'd take the healthcare fight to the Democrats, and claim ownership of the issue as George W. Bush claimed the education issue back in 2000. That has not happened - in large part because important parts of the Republican coalition would not allow it. Their vetoes have put Romney in his horrible predicament today, in which the bridge that was supposed to join him to the political center has been closed to him by his own party base.