Romney would give uninsured a ‘choice’

Mitt Romney says he would offer Americans without health insurance who have pre-existing conditions a "choice" to get coverage without fear of denial. 

In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Romney said he would help cover the uninsured while repealing the Affordable Care Act. Obama's health-care legislation bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, starting in 2014. 

“You have to deal with those people who are currently uninsured, and help them have the opportunity to have insurance,” Romney said. “But then once people have all had that opportunity to become insured, if someone chooses not to become insured, and waits for 10 or 20 years and then gets ill and then says ‘Now I want insurance,’ you could hardly say to an insurance company, ‘Oh, you must take this person now that they’re sick,’ or there’d literally be no reason to have insurance."

Romney's comments suggest he would create a window during which all Americans would be able to get some form of health insurance, regardless of pre-existing conditions. 

However, in the same interview, Romney again suggested that the uninsured will get care -- "it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital."

Romney has previously said that he would protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing their coverage when they switch jobs, but that only addresses a fraction of the 49 million uninsured. 

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | October 11, 2012