In Awkward Agreement, Mitt Romney Backs President Obama’s Contention That Health Care Mandate Is Not a Tax
Mitt Romney’s campaign added one more spin Monday to the dizzying debate over what to call money owed to the government by people who flout the national health care law’s individual insurance mandate.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee agrees with the Obama administration’s insistence that the “shared responsibility payment,” as it is called in the Affordable Care Act, should be described as a penalty, or a fee, or a fine — but not a tax. Romney’s gripe, Fehrnstrom said, is that the president changed his tune when the time came to defend the health care law before the Supreme Court.
“After it passed the Congress, he sent his solicitor general up to court to argue that it was a tax,” Fehrnstrom said during an interview on MSNBC. “Now he is back to arguing that it’s not a tax. So he’s all over the map.”
There are two problems with the Romney campaign’s line of attack: It puts the candidate out of step with other GOP leaders, and it opens him up to charges of hypocrisy — Romney, too, has called the payment a tax at times.