Mitt Romney on The Tenth Amendment
In August of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa. He discusses health care and notes that the states have the right to enact a mandate as part of health care reform as he did in Massachusetts under the tenth amendment.
WALLACE: Governor Romney, I'm going to ask you a question about health care, but I'd like to give you 30 seconds to respond to the criticism of other parts of your record.
ROMNEY: I think I like Tim's answer at the last debate better. (LAUGHTER)
There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people.
We put together a plan that was right for Massachusetts. The president took the power of the people and the states away from them and put in place a one-size-fits-all plan. It's bad law. It's bad constitutional law. It's bad medicine. And if I'm president of the United States, on my first day, I'll direct the secretary of HHS to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. (APPLAUSE)
WALLACE: But, Governor -- and this is -- this is your one-minute question. Do you think that government at any level has the right to make someone buy a good or service just because they are a U.S. resident? Where do you find that authority, that mandating authority, government making an individual buy a good or service in the Constitution?
ROMNEY: Chris, you're -- you're asking me, what do we think we should do about Obamacare? And the answer is...
WALLACE: No, I'm asking you...
ROMNEY: And the answer is -- the answer is, I think you have to repeal Obamacare, and I will, and I'll put in place a plan that allows states to craft their own programs to make those programs work.
WALLACE: But, sir, I'm asking you where you find that authority in the Constitution.
ROMNEY: And let -- and let me tell you -- where do I find it in the constitution? Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. And the Massachusetts constitution allows states, for instance, to say that our kids have to go to school. It has that power. The question is, is that a good idea or bad idea? And I understand different people come to different conclusions.
What we did in our state was this. We said, look, we're finding people that can afford insurance, health insurance, that are going to the hospital and getting the state to pay for them. Taxpayers are picking up hundreds of millions of dollars of costs from people who are free riders.
We said, you know what? We're going to insist that those people who can afford to pay for themselves do so. We believe in personal responsibility. And if the people aren't willing to do that, then they're going to help the government pay for them. That was our conclusion.
The right answer for every state is to determine what's right for those states and not to impose Obamacare on the nation. That's why I'll repeal it. (APPLAUSE)