With Speech, Romney To Confront Health Reform Politics

Mitt Romney will deliver a speech today in which he will confront his biggest political vulnerability: the fact that the state health reform he signed into law as governor is often considered a prototype for the federal health law. The individual mandate, which The Boston Globe describes as "the third rail in Republican politics," was a core component of the state's health reform measure.

Los Angeles Times: Massachusetts Health Reform A Double-Edged Sword For Romney
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was all smiles in 2006 as he marched into historic Faneuil Hall behind a fife and drum corps and ascended a giant stage festooned with a banner that proclaimed "Making History in Healthcare." Five years later, that achievement is still being celebrated here by doctors, hospitals, business leaders and community advocates who credit the law with ensuring that fewer than 2 percent of the state's residents are uninsured, compared with more than 15 percent nationally. Yet the Massachusetts milestone has emerged as perhaps Romney's biggest obstacle to securing the Republican nomination for president in 2012 (Levey, 5/11).

The Boston Globe: Romney Support For Individual Mandate Complicates Health Care Politics
As Mitt Romney prepares for a major address on health care here this afternoon, the likely presidential contender is still expected to continue defending what has become a third rail in Republican politics: a requirement from government that people purchase health insurance. The so-called individual mandate was a core component of the signature health care plan Romney signed into law while governor of Massachusetts, and he has stuck by that decision — even as he has decried it as part of the federal plan signed into law last year by President Obama (Johnson, 5/12).

The Associated Press: Romney Tackling Health Care Vulnerability
Mitt Romney waited until weeks before GOP primary voting began in 2008 to address a big vulnerability in his quest for the presidency — his Mormon faith. Advisers now say that was too late to answer voter skepticism. This time, Romney is tackling an enormous weakness head-on at the outset of his campaign for president: a health care overhaul that he signed into law as Massachusetts governor and that became a model for President Barack Obama's national measure (Elliott, 5/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney Aims To Inoculate Himself On Health Care
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday will address his most glaring political liability — his work as governor to establish universal health-care coverage in Massachusetts — in a speech aides say will attempt to shift attention to how he would replace President Barack Obama's health-care law (Weisman and O'Connor, 5/12).

USA Today: Romney Wants To Talk About Health Plans
No, not the health care overhaul he signed as governor of Massachusetts a decade ago. That law now looms as one of the biggest hurdles in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 because President Obama and others cite it as a model for the federal plan enacted last year — a measure the GOP now vilifies (Page, 5/11).

Politico: What Mitt Romney's Health Care Speech Needs To Say
Finally, Mitt Romney will confront his ghosts. Romney hasn't formally announced he's running for president yet he'll deliver a health care speech Thursday that could determine the fate of his expected campaign for the Republican nomination (Hunt, 5/12).

WBUR: Romney's Mass. Health Law Defense Plays Well Among Key N.H. Voters
In the latest Suffolk University/WHDH-TV poll, he has a 25-point lead among likely voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary. "We asked a question about whether or not Mitt Romney’s involvement in passing health care in Massachusetts would hurt his electability," pollster David Paleologos said, "and people said overwhelmingly it would have no effect. That was an important finding for us because the general consensus is that his position on health care will hurt him" (Thys, 5/12). 

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