Mitt Romney on Friday reversed years of trying to distinguish Obamacare from the universal health care law he signed as governor of Massachusetts, acknowledging that it paved the way for President Barack Obama's signature law.
“Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare," Romney said.
Romney made the comment to the Boston Globe following the death of friend and Staples founder Thomas Stemberg, who died Friday at 66:
Romney also credited Mr. Stemberg with persuading him to push for health care reform in Massachusetts when he was governor.
Romney said that shortly after he was elected, Mr. Stemberg asked him why he ran for governor. Romney said he told him that he wanted to help people, and Mr. Stemberg replied that if he really wanted to help, he should give everyone access to health care, which Romney said he hadn’t really considered before.
“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney said. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance."
Romney's 2012 Republican presidential campaign took great pains to distinguish Romneycare from Obamacare, one of several issues that was viewed with skepticism by conservative voters.
Romney took to social media later Friday to say that "getting people health insurance is a good thing" but that he opposes Obamacare, which "has failed."
Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for. I oppose Obamacare https://t.co/Jv02IWhClh— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 23, 2015
"Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for. 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," Romney posted on Facebook.
This post has been updated with Romney's response.