Mitt Romney continues to defend his health care law

Holly Bailey

Ahead of his official campaign kickoff Thursday, Mitt Romney continues to insist he won't apologize for a health care law he passed as governor of Massachusetts.

The former governor tells the Boston Globe he won't back away from the bill, even if it hurts him politically.

"I know this is going to get a lot of conversation,'' he said, "but the health of the people in Massachusetts is more important to me than the health of my political prospects.''

That's a slightly new line from Romney, who has come under fire from his potential 2012 GOP rivals for the similarities between his plan and President Obama's controversial health care law. Both laws require individuals to obtain health care coverage or face fines--a mandate that has prompted plenty of criticism from Romney's likely 2012 rivals and other conservatives.

After months of avoiding the subject, Romney earlier this month defended the plan he passed as governor in a PowerPoint presentation, insisting that his plan differs from Obama's in that it was crafted to fit the needs of his state.

Romney has argued that Obama's law should be repealed in order to allow states to craft their own health care proposals--as he did as governor. But critics say Romney should apologize for including mandated health insurance in his plan--insisting it violates conservative principals.

But Romney remains unapologetic.

"Overall, it was a positive approach,'' Romney told the Globe. "I'm proud of the fact we took on a real tough problem and moved the ball forward.''

(Photo of Romney in Iowa: Mary Ann Chastain/AP)