Romney: Preserve parts of health-care law

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that while he intends to dismantle the Obama administration’s health-care law if elected, he would retain several key provisions, including coverage for preexisting conditions.

In an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney said his health-care overhaul would also allow families to cover adult children with their policies through age 26 and include access to coverage for unemployed people seeking insurance. Both are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Obama in 2010.

“I’m not getting rid of all health-care reform,” Romney said. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I’m going to put in place.”

Romney’s promises are not altogether new. But, delivered in a major network interview at the outset of the fall campaign, they had the ring of an explicit appeal to a general-election audience, especially moderate independent voters leery of wrenching changes in their health care.

The Obama campaign disputed some of Romney’s assurances. It said that his plan would cover preexisting conditions only for the continuously insured, excluding those who have never had private coverage or who have lost it because of unemployment. People in such circumstances have been protected under federal law since 1996.

“When Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he really did have a comprehensive plan to make sure people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage, which is why his Massachusetts health reform law formed the basis for Obamacare,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Liz Smith said in a statement. “But now, he has pledged to repeal the national law modeled on his successful efforts, and has offered an inadequate plan in its place.”

Independent health-care analysts have said Romney’s promise to retain coverage for those with preexisting conditions would be difficult to keep without enforcing the individual mandate, which the GOP opposes.

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