In the general election, Romney can effectively argue that federalism allows Massachusetts to experiment with a health care mandate as a decentralized “laboratory of democracy.” It is the 10th Amendment purview of the states to enact insurance mandates if they desire, but such actions should be limited at the federal level. While Romney can appeal to voters on grounds of states’ rights, the functional policy question remains and he will likely have to defend his actions as governor at the first presidential debate.
Moderator (I’m thinking Jim Lehrer): “Even if you believe mandates should be limited to state governments, why is it that you pursued and signed into law an insurance mandate in Massachusetts? Why is a mandate good for Massachusetts? Why does a mandate make insurance markets function more effectively and make sense for Massachusetts citizens? If this policy is good for the people of Massachusetts, how can you criticize President Obama when he pursues similar policy approaches?
Romney: “Ummmmmm… Jim, can I use one of my lifelines?”