Lost in all the media coverage of Mitt Romney’s “I like being able to fire people” comment is the falsehood he was attempting to explain. Speaking to New Hampshire primary voters this week, Romney completely mischaracterized President Obama’s Affordable Care Act as reform that offers no choice.
“I was talking about, as you know, insurance companies,” he said. “We’d all like to get rid of our insurance companies—don’t want Obama to tell us we can’t.”
He also said this:
“I don’t want to live in a world where we have Obamacare telling us which insurance we have to have, which doctor we can have, which hospital we go to. I believe in the setting as I described this morning, where people are able to choose their own doctor, choose their own insurance company. If they don’t like their insurance company or their provider, they can get rid of it.”
The reality—as the President has said all along—is that the Affordable Care Act gives Americans plenty of health insurance options. Here are just a few of the ways health care reform provides exactly the kind of choice Romney claims it denies:
State-based affordable insurance exchanges will allow you to shop and compare health plans, starting in 2014
The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) makes you eligible for coverage even if you’ve been sick.
Consumer-run, non-profit health insurers (CO-OP insurance plans) are another option available in 2014.
Young people under the age of 26 can choose to remain on their parents’ health insurance.
Mitt Romney is spreading false rumors about health care reform—it’s part of his say-anything-to-get-elected strategy. Truth is, Romney’s the candidate who says he would take away consumer protections in the health care law, so the 129 million people with pre-existing conditions—including 17 million children—would risk being denied the option to change their current insurance company.
But he should know better than most that the Affordable Care Act is really chock full of choice. After all, Romney’s own health care law in Massachusetts provided exactly the same kind of insurance exchange options as the President’s reform.