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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Romney: “I Was Brainwashed in Massachusetts…”

Romney: “I Was Brainwashed in Massachusetts…”

August 24, 2007

In a stunning admission at a campaign health event in Florida today, Republican Presidential Candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said that he had been “brainwashed” while serving as governor and agreeing to a big government health expansion scheme.

“Gosh, there was so much blue, so much blue, everywhere, my eyes kind of glazed over and I lost focus,” Romney said, referring to the Massachusetts health reform law known as Chapter 58 which has thus far expanded affordable health insurance coverage to about 175,000 formerly uninsured individuals, mostly through expanded government financing.

“Now that I’ve left that darn state, I’ve seen the light,” Romney admitted, saying he feels a pain in his stomach every time he thinks about the law which requires government, individuals, and employers to make contributions to create a near-universal health care structure.

In the early part of his presidential drive, Romney rarely mentioned Massachusetts or health care. But just last month, rival candidate Rudolph Giuliani advanced his own health reform platform to favorable reviews from conservative analysts. Romney’s new plan, described in today’s New York Times, hews closely to Republican health care orthodoxy, so much that conservative critics of Chapter 58 are offering praise:

"Compared to what Gov. Romney did in Massachusetts, that would be a dramatic improvement," said Michael F. Cannon, director of health-policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, which has blasted Mr. Romney for the state plan. "If it's geared toward getting government out of people's health-care decisions by reforming the tax code, wow, that's fantastic." -- WSJ

“I know people can look at my health law and think, ‘holy Toledo, he’s a big government so and so.’ But, just like Ronald Reagan and Rudy Giuliani changed their minds, well, heck, I’ve changed mine as well,” the candidate noted.

In an unusual move, at the end of the event, the Romney campaign served cherry pie for all reporters and participants.