Conservatives recently criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for selecting former HHS Secretary and Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) to lead his transition planning, noting Leavitt's support for aspects of the federal health reform law, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
Leavitt now leads a consulting firm, Leavitt Partners, that helps states implement elements of the overhaul (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 6/4).
Conservative blogger Ben Domenech wrote that Leavitt's stance on the overhaul is "a matter of significant concern on the right" (National Journal, 6/4). Domenech said choosing Leavitt could be "an indication of how Romney would potentially 'fix' ObamaCare if repeal proves impossible."
Michael Cannon, a health policy analyst at the Cato Institute, wrote that the choice "suggests [Romney] doesn't mind ObamaCare that much and that he is just saying whatever he needs to say to get what he wants."
Responding to concerns about Leavitt, Romney's campaign said, "Gov. Romney alone decides policy. As he's made clear, he is committed to completely repealing" the overhaul ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 6/4).
Emails Reveal Romney's Involvement in Massachusetts Health Reform
In related news, a series of recently released internal emails from Romney's tenure as governor of Massachusetts show he was closely involved in negotiating aspects of the state health reform law and strongly supported the law's individual mandate, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Romney administration believed all the emails had been discarded, according to a current official, but emails of a former staffer remained.
The emails show Romney worked with Democratic state leaders and drafted opinion pieces to support the legislation. Although Romney did not include an individual mandate in the original bill, his administration soon championed the idea, even amid resistance from Democrats, the Journal reports.
According to the Journal, Romney previously has called the state's overhaul his signature achievement as governor. However, he has since distanced himself from the law in the wake of GOP attacks on the federal health reform law (Maremont, Wall Street Journal, 6/4).