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Romney Boasts of Healthcare Plan

JOHNSTON, Iowa--The latest candidate promising universal health care to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. That's a surprise. While the Democratic candidates have dueled for months over whose plan is most "universal," the GOP candidates have largely stayed away from that fray. Romney didn't emphasize that his plan would cover everyone when he first announced it, and experts doubt his proposal would expand health insurance to the 47 million Americans who don't have it, because he does not include new monies to finance the program.

Earlier this year, Romney was putting some distance between himself and a 2006 Massachusetts law that seeks to create universal health care in that state. Romney had worked hard on the provision and signed it in a lavish ceremony, but some of the elements, such as requiring people to get insurance or face a fine, are not popular among the conservative activists he has been courting.

Now, as the caucus nears and Republican voters in the early states keep asking health care questions, Romney pledged at a house party in Johnston, Iowa, yesterday to get everyone in the country health insurance within four years, if Congress passed his plan. He bragged that more than two-thirds of the uninsured in his state are now covered and said as president "I'll battle to get that done in every state in the country."

His campaign has a new mailer on the issue. "Promises, Promises," it says in large letters, "every day in Iowa, presidential candidates make promises to expand healthcare coverage." Pictured are several 2008 candidates, but not Romney. Inside, it says, "as governor, Mitt Romney created the first comprehensive healthcare reform program in the country," over a picture of Romney standing in what appears to be a hospital.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 12, 2007; 7:10 PM ET
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