Within Hours, Mitt Romney Takes Back Everything He Said About Preexisting Conditions
Kevin’s right, reporters do need to spell out the details better and question more when they hear sweeping statements, otherwise the glib talking generalist running on the GOP ticket will coast to election day without having said anything of substance.
As it happens, we already have a competitive market for individual insurance. In addition, we already have demand for coverage of preexisting conditions. And yet, the marketplace doesn’t make policies available to people with preexisting conditions.
Why? Because policies that cover preexisting conditions are big money losers unless you charge premiums high enough that no one could afford them. Because of that, nobody bothers to offer them in the first place. That’s how the free market works. It would be nice if Romney could explain how he intends to square this circle.
It would also be nice if the mainstream press reported the fact that Romney doesn’t plan to make sure those with preexisting conditions can get health coverage just as loudly as they reported his original misstatement. I’m not holding my breath.
UPDATE: BuzzFeed passes along yet another clarification. According to an aide, “Gov. Romney will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited.”
This has long been Romney’s position, and it’s not clear if it’s meaningful or not. This kind of protection has been the law of the land since 1995 for people with group coverage. And people who lose group coverage already qualify for individual COBRA coverage for 18 months. So the only way Romney’s statement means anything is if he’s saying he would pass a law that requires insurance companies to offer permanent individual coverage at a reasonable price to people who lose their group coverage. Needless to say, Romney has never actually committed to that particular detail.