Mitt Romney: Never mind – health care mandate is a tax

While you were prepping the grill for that Fourth of July banquet of hot dogs and hamburgers, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday walked back his campaign’s firm statement that put him in rare agreement with President Barack Obama.

A penalty for those who don’t purchase health insurance may be a federal mandate, but it’s not a tax, a Romney campaign spokesman said 48 hours ago. His boss contradicted him today:

Said Romney in the CBS interview:

”Now the Supreme Court has spoken. And while agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court thinks it’s a tax – and therefore, it is a tax. They have spoken. There’s no way around that. You can say you wish they’d decided it a different way, but they didn’t. They concluded it was a tax. That’s what it is. And the American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made. He said he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle-income Americans.”

Monday’s statement by Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom
, who said Romney agreed with Obama on what label to give the no-insurance penalty, had put the likely GOP nominee at odds with many other Republicans in Washington, including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who immediately began using the U.S. Supreme Court’s re-definition as a new argument for repeal of the president’s health care overhaul.

On the other hand, Romney – though he didn’t do it today — will now be required to explain why a similar penalty imposed on Massachusetts residents while he was governor doesn’t also qualify as a tax.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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31 comments Add your comment


July 4th, 2012
1:04 pm

Flip flop again. Is said rightly in one of Indian saying that when your end is near you loose your intelligence.

Another Cynic

July 4th, 2012
1:12 pm

Sigh…. I ALMOST feel sorry for this guy. He was basically the last guy “picked” for the prom and now it’s very obvious that he really doesn’t know which way to turn. S.O.S….Will somebody please help him?


July 4th, 2012
1:18 pm

To think Republicans decried John Kerry for so much less wobbling, and were proud to say things like “With Bush you know where he stands!” What a difference 8 years make!


July 4th, 2012
1:25 pm

aWhat is wrong with this man? Mittens flip flops like a fish out of sea gasping for breath. And everyday he has to run from his own public achievement – the healthcare plan!

[...] top aideCNN (blog)Romney, in Shift, Says Health Care Mandate Is a TaxNew York Times (blog)Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Politico (blog) -Los Angeles Timesall 1,928 news articles » AKPC_IDS += [...]


July 4th, 2012
1:44 pm

Only took 2 days to shake the campaign etch-a-sketch…

Old Hippie

July 4th, 2012
1:51 pm

Flip-flop, flip-flop. Between Romneycare/Obamacare, his financial shenanigans, and owning stock in an abortion supplier, Mitten’s doesn’t stand a chance.

Can we just go ahead and swear Obama in for another 4 years and skip the election?

Independent voter

July 4th, 2012
1:53 pm

Can’t vote for Obama again this time for sure !!!! he’s raising taxes the everybody !!!!!

Independent voter

July 4th, 2012
1:54 pm

taxes on everybody !!

Old Hippy Tea Partier

July 4th, 2012
2:00 pm

AFL-CIO Big Labor will suck us ALL dry !!! Reverend Wright and Al Sharpton both can’t be wrong ??

Old Hippie

July 4th, 2012
2:02 pm

Old Hippy Tea Partier

July 4th, 2012
2:14 pm

Motherjones is an extreme liberal FAR left rag !!!!! dishonest !!!


July 4th, 2012
3:05 pm

Funny how conservatives say the Supreme Court’s ruling on upholding the ACA is not correct, but when the Court says the mandate is a tax, they are the last and final word on that. Can anyone say cherry picking?

Mitt Romney

July 4th, 2012
3:22 pm

“I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, even though the highest court in our land ruled otherwise, consistent with hundreds of years of Supreme Court ruling precedents, and I know I called similar fee a penalty in Massachusetts, however today, after having a good a _ _ whippin’ from the GOP elite, I now declare the fee a tax, on Independence Day because my party is depending on me to attack our President, on their command. I only wish someone had called or sent me and or my staff “The Memo”.


View From Midtown

July 4th, 2012
3:28 pm

Mitt must be dizzy all the time from so much spinning. If the PPACA penalty is a tax, then Mitt also raised taxes in Massachusetts. For the sake of argument, let’s say we agree that the penalty for not buying health insurance IS a tax, it would hardly be some giant tax on the broad middle class; the CBO projects only 1.2 percent of the population will end up paying the penalty. Remember most Americans get their health insurance through their employers and that will remain the case. Lower income citizens will get subsidies to help pay for health insurance based on their income as compared to multiples of the poverty level. Who might be most likely to be in the 1.2 percent? The idle rich who are not employed (to get employer provided health insurance) and happen to have plenty of cash reserves to pay for things when they do get sick (i.e. are effectively self-insured). So no, Mitt, it’s not a huge tax increase on the middle class and you’re lying yet again.


July 4th, 2012
3:37 pm

Well, Rand Paul says that just because the Supreme Court says so, doesn’t mean it is so. So, which is it?


July 4th, 2012
3:45 pm

Hey Midtown…
Who needs such facts when you have FOX?


July 4th, 2012
3:49 pm

It is about time Mitt flip-flopped on this.

I have been waiting all week for this.


July 4th, 2012
4:02 pm

Mitt’s flipflopping should be the least of people’s worries. His lack of transparency should be cause for concern among even among the least informed Republicans – especially the Joe the Plumbers and snake handlers…

WASHINGTON (AP) — For nearly 15 years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s financial portfolio has included an offshore company that remained invisible to voters as his political star rose.

Based in Bermuda, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. was not listed on any of Romney’s state or federal financial reports. The company is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed, including one that recently posted a $1.9 million earning — suggesting he could be wealthier than the nearly $250 million estimated by his campaign.


July 4th, 2012
4:05 pm

Good grief! Regardless of what you call it, it is what it is. In effect it is both a penalty and a tax; but legally, it cannot be a tax. Tax legislation must originate in the House Ways and Means Committee. This monstrosity originated in the Senate. The government cannot compel you to buy health insurance, but it can charge you a penalty (tax) if you don’t. The effect is the same. Some argue that Chief Justice Roberts limited government’s power under the commerce clause; but he gave it the power to do the same things, and much more, by calling it a tax.

A lot of businesses are going to have to shut down because they cannot afford this program. Anybody who pays money to the government (i.e., works for a living) is going to be paying a lot more than he ever imagined paying.

20% of American families earn less than their share of the total health care costs today. This program does nothing to solve that problem. It merely creates an inscrutable maze of bureaucracy. We cannot afford this health care system, period. But the high cost is due to government involvement. Regulations add an incredible amount to the real cost of health care; and with third-party payers, neither patients not providers have any incentive to control cost. This program will lead to draconian rationing of health care. Anyone who does not know that is mathematically illiterate.

If you know where to look, it is still possible to get health care at real cost by paying cash. The cost of government-or-insurance funded care is typically about ten times the cost of direct cash-funded care.


July 4th, 2012
4:43 pm

Another Cynic nailed it.


July 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

Tax legislation must originate in the House Ways and Means Committee

The penalty portion was attached to a House bill that was unrelated. You can whine about it, but it’s legal and both parties do this.

the rest of your nonsense is… well… also fact-free nonsense.


July 4th, 2012
4:57 pm

I’m starting to feel sorry for Mitt. That’s bad.


July 4th, 2012
5:01 pm

This is the big shot businessman that is going to put America back to work, the CEO that is going to take charge of Washington, the Chairman of the Board that is going to preside over the Legislature. Sheesh.


July 4th, 2012
5:26 pm

Source: Wikipedia

“The Affordable Health Care for America Act (or HR 3962)[1] was a bill that was crafted by the United States House of Representatives in November 2009. At the encouragement of the Obama administration, the 111th Congress devoted much of its time to enacting reform of the United States’ health care system. Known as the “House bill,” it was the House of Representative’s chief legislative proposal during the health reform debate, but the Affordable Health Care for America Act as originally drafted never became law.

On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed an alternative health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590).[2] In 2010, the House abandoned its reform bill in favor of amending the Senate bill (via the reconciliation process) in the form.of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Kris (change my name to DEAL to get a JOB)

July 4th, 2012
5:47 pm

Flip …Flop….Zig …ZAG …What can I say…This Moron is clueless…

On another note I see Double dip DEAL ..Deal has named his business Cronies and their flunkeys and two top contributors to the Georgia Ports Authority, a plum assignment that can open doors for businessmen….

Please vote the GOP clown out of office.
Run do not walk to the nearest Impeachment place to IMPEACH this CROOK!

OBAMA 2012


July 4th, 2012
5:49 pm

Correcting a staffer’s misinformed comment is hardly a walk back/ flip flop as the leftist media tries to protray. The Obama administration called it a tax before the Supreme Court, and a majority of the Court agreed. Taxes are not unconstitutional. The hypocrisy here is that Obama and the media reported that it was a penalty, not a tax.

While I am pointing out the media bias on this issue – more locally here:

What’s wrong with our news media?

As the TSPLOST issue has gained more publicity over the last several months we have been treated to many working examples of the media-as-advocate instead of media-as-reporter.

The coverage seems designed to reinforce the Maven/ARC/Chamber message rather than to examine the facts about the project list objectively.

Things you hear and see repeatedly:

Atlanta is choked with traffic.
TSPLOST will fix our congestion problems.
TSPLOST will fuel Atlanta’s growth.

Things you never hear or see:

Over 52% of the funds go to transit.
Transit does very little to reduce congestion. The metro region has too little density for transit to work.
$500 million of the projects are going to fix MARTA’s maintenance backlog, which does nothing for congestion.
$600 million is going to fund the City of Atlanta’s beltway project, which does nothing for congestion.
The Citizen Review Panel is a toothless, for-show-only politically appointed body that has no enforcement power.
ARC’s Chief Planner has stated publicly that the entire project list when completed will not change commute times very much.

The project list and many of the real facts about it are available at

Armchair Economist

July 4th, 2012
5:53 pm

The government, read US DOJ under the current administration, called it a tax and also argued it was constitutional as a mandate in its briefs to SCOTUS. Romney says its a tax but said it was a mandate. So the Obama Administration and Romney and SCOTUS now call it a tax. But the media and liberals hate this and call Romney a flip-flopper. This is too funny. Too bad most people don’t see through this slight of hand.


July 4th, 2012
6:05 pm

romney makes john kerry look like bedrock

How many republicans does it take to change a light bulb?


They fear change,even if it will make the world a brighter place


July 5th, 2012
4:40 am

I love how the focus has shifted away from Obama and his own statements – trying to convince everyone that this was not a tax – trying to compare it to car insurance.

There has been a consistent voice in all of this (contrary to the ignorance found here). Mitt Romney called this a tax several times during a speech given in 2010. He called it with accuracy and knew what he was talking about. Mitt Romney was right.

We need Mitt Romney as our president. Hell turn power back to the states where it belongs. Mitt Romney is a good and honest man and will make a great president.


July 5th, 2012
1:45 pm

Duke, that is not how the origination clause works.