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Romney, the Mandate, and Ohio

4:51 PM, Dec 21, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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The Hill reports: “Requiring people to have health insurance is ‘conservative,’ GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told MSNBC on Wednesday, but only if states do it.” The Hill adds: “The argument aims to improve Romney’s appeal to Republican voters concerned about the healthcare reform plan he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts in 2006. The Massachusetts law contains an individual mandate similar to the one in President Obama’s healthcare law, which conservatives despise.”

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In the interview, Romney said that the individual mandate came about in response to asking the question, “How do we get individuals to take responsibility for their own health care?” Romney added, “There are a number of ways of encouraging personal responsibility.”

The “conservative” way that Romney chose to implement in Massachusetts was rejected last month by voters across the state of Ohio  A referendum in that state proposed in part that, “In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.” It passed by a margin of 32 percentage points, sweeping the state’s 88 counties and winning by a margin of at least 20 points in 81 of those counties.  It won by 16 points in Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located.  No Republican has ever won a presidential election without winning Ohio.

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