Mitt Romney said in a Boston Globe obituary that longtime friend and Staples founder Tom Stemberg pushed for the healthcare system implemented in Massachusetts during his time as governor, and that system led to Obamacare.
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney is finally taking credit — or admitting blame — for Obamacare.
After years of denying that Obamacare was closely modeled on the universal healthcare insurance plan Romney helped pass as Massachusetts governor, the former presidential candidate took credit for its influence in a Boston Globe obituary for a longtime friend, Staples owner Tom Stemberg.
“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” said Romney. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”
Romney has spent years arguing Obamacare wasn’t that similar to his plan, which he long claimed was never designed to be implemented at the national level.
Romney battled with President Obama during the 2012 election, claiming that the universal healthcare system Obama championed was not based off the model he established in Massachusetts.
Romney still believes that Obamacare is a failure, however, and says he would repeal it in favor of stae-crafted plans.
The similarity of the plans was an albatross around Romney’s neck during the 2012 presidential race, as it hurt him with the conservative base and made it hard for him to criticize Obama on healthcare.
Romney sought later on Friday to clarify his comments, arguing that Obamacare “has failed” and saying he’d still repeal it.
“Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for,” he wrote. “I oppose Obamacare and believe it has failed. It drove up premiums, took insurance away from people who were promised otherwise, and usurped state programs. As I said in the campaign, I’d repeal it and replace it with state-crafted plans.”