Yesterday Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, went on MSNBC and did his best at parsing the language of the Massachusetts Health that Governor Romney signed into law. The campaign spokesman stated that Chief Justice Roberts was wrong in using the word “tax” to describe the penalty in the Affordable Care Act upheld by the Supreme Court last week and that the Romney Camp believes it is a penalty. This is a bad position for the Romney Campaign. It is always best to own up to what is on the table and move on. By taking a Democratic talking point, Governor Romney closes the space between him and the President.
Throughout the Primary season Governor Romney has argued correctly that the Massachusetts Health Care law is a States Right given to the states by the Constitution of the United States’ 10th Amendment. This argument has been sound and has also been legally correct so instead of trying to be cute the campaign should own up.
The Massachusetts Health Care law used fees or penalties for those who were not paying for Health Care. The Governor during the debates called them “free riders”. Whatever they are called matters not and whether or not there was a tax imposed on those so called “free riders” is immaterial too. Chief Justice Roberts declared in his ruling that the penalty for not getting health care in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is indeed a tax and in so doing called the penalties in the Massachusetts Health Care law a tax as well.
I think the change of direction is an easy one. “Although the Romney Campaign believes that the penalties involved in the Massachusetts Health Care law were not officially classified as a tax, it appears that Chief Justice Roberts has corrected the language and perception in his majority ruling in favor of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Regardless of the change in name, we have argued from the beginning that it is a 10th Amendment right and should not be a Federal bludgeon to both the states and to all the citizens of this great country. We have not changed our position to the President’s law. It is a bad law and bad policy, always has been and always will be, and we will begin the arduous process of full repeal once we are elected in November”. End of story.
Accept the hand that is dealt, use it to highlight your position and then recommence to pounding the President on his handling of the economy, and then begin to highlight how the new health care law will directly impact our economy for the foreseeable future.
Call the spade a spade. It is a tax and lets move on.