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Aide: Romney sees mandate as a penalty, not a tax

July 2, 2012
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WASHINGTON—A top adviser says Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney doesn't see the health care mandate as a tax but as a penalty or a fee or even a fine.

That's a different view from Republicans who are condemning the individual mandate in President Barack Obama's health care law as a tax instead of a penalty, as Obama prefers to call it.

Senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told MSNBC on Monday that Romney thinks those without health coverage pay a penalty rather than a tax.

Opponents of the health care law have seized on the Supreme Court's use of the word "tax" in describing the mandate.

Romney's own health care law, enacted while he was Massachusetts governor, calls for a penalty. And Romney appears loath to call that a tax.

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