Posted by: Debby Durkee | October 20, 2011

Romneycare is not good for GOP.

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Romneycare is not good for GOP.

If Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee in 2012, the GOP loses credibility on the Obamacare issue, something brought up by Rick Santorum in the debate on Tuesday night. Flip-flopping has been a way of life for media-designated frontrunner, Mitt. The question is, how does he mitigate his continuing stance on what’s become a huge, expensive problem for Massachusetts and the revelation that Romneycare was the model for Obamacare? This is from the Wall Street Journal.

…no one who knows anything about health policy on the left or right would deny…: When Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, they borrowed liberally from Mr. Romney’s model.

If the plans are not identical in every detail, they share major phenotypes: an individual mandate to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty; large transfer payments to subsidize the middle class; and much more government control over how insurance plans are structured, how medical services are delivered, and how both are priced. Snip —

Romney counters that by saying it was right for Massachusetts, but it would be wrong to adopt his plan for the entire country, and he promises to repeal Obamacare if he is elected. However, as the Journal says – he was all for adopting it nationwide until the Democrats actually did it. In an editorial on the pages of the Journal Romney stated that “a lot” of his Romneycare plan applies to other states.

But the larger and more important point is that Mr. Romney continues to defend his Massachusetts plan as a success for precisely the same reasons that President Obama says it should be imposed on all states. In reality, the Massachusetts plan is not a success and its problems are the best refutation of the duo’s arguments.

Here’s Mr. Romney Tuesday night: “What we do is rely on private insurers, and people—93% of our people who are already insured, nothing changed. For the people who didn’t have insurance, they get private insurance, not government insurance.”

Here’s Mr. Obama in his health-care speech to Congress in 2009: “If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” And the uninsured, Mr. Obama continued, would simply receive “affordable choices” from “private insurers.”

The trouble with the Obama-Romney definition of “affordable” is that in practice it means subsidies, and once the government provides “free” health care, the private sector and entitlement state are fungible…

The problem with that thinking is that once government is introduced into the market, the market no longer rules and choices that used to be left to market forces end up being dictated by government.

And, sure enough, due to the subsidy gusher that Mr. Romney opened, Massachusetts is now moving to impose price controls on private insurance and tightly regulate the type of care patients can receive.  Snip —

The GOP presidential field must continue to hammer Romney on his health care law because if he is the nominee, you can be sure Obama will. Our candidate must be able to be a bright example of the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats.

Mr. Obama’s unbridled expansion of government means that the election will present the electorate with the largest philosophical choice since 1980: To continue the trend toward a larger and growing government and the ever-higher taxes to pay for it, or to modernize the 20th century’s broken government institutions. Republicans do not want to wake up in 2012 to discover that they have nominated someone who is unprepared, and maybe unwilling, to lead the reform of government that America needs.

The media has given Romney a pass on this, but the American public will not, so if the GOP is serious about Romney being the candidate, this is something that can’t and won’t be ignored. If trust is one of the main three reasons for selecting a presidential candidate, then Romney has a lot to prove. Read it all here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203914304576627683818892932.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

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