Mitt Romney (R) said Tuesday he wouldn't apologize for the healthcare plan he created as governor of Massachusetts.
Romney waged a defense of his state's healthcare plan, perhaps his biggest hurdle to clear if he hopes to win the Republican nomination for president, due to its similarities to President Obama's healthcare reform law.
The former governor, an early front-runner for the 2012 GOP nomination, said he welcomed a decision on Tuesday by a federal judge striking down Obama's new healthcare law in its entirety. Romney said the ruling, combined with efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the nearly year-old law, should give Obama the impetus to "press the pause button" on his reforms.
"The right thing for the president to do now … he should press the pause button and say, 'You know what, let's hold back on this ObamaCare.' "
But as Romney criticized Obama's own plans, he waged a defense of one he implemented as governor in 2006. At issue is the so-called "individual mandate," which requires an individual to obtain health insurance, or face penalties under the law. Both Romney's and Obama's plans include such a measure. It is this provision that conservatives have challenged in court, and that a federal judge said on Monday was unconstitutional.
Romney said that while he might have constructed his plan differently if given a second chance, he was ultimately well within his rights as the governor of a state to enact it.
"I'm not going to apologize for the rights of states to craft plans on a bipartisan basis that they think will help their people," he said.