Mitt Romney was appearing on talk shows earlier this month ostensibly promoting his new book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. The former Massachusetts governor was also sounding a lot like a possible candidate for another Presidential run in 2012.
Naturally the issue of health care reform came up. Massachusetts did implement universal healthcare for all its residents. But the former Governor told interviewers that the Massachusetts model was nothing like the reform being proposed by President Obama and the Democrats.
Really Governor? Nothing like it?
Governor Romney called the plan enacted by Massachusetts the “ultimate conservative plan,” and the “ultimate pro-life effort.” He also stated that the plan is “working well.”
The former Governor seemed genuinely surprised that anyone would think the plan proposed by President Obama and the Democrats is in any way like the Massachusetts plan.
There are similarities in the two plans, even if the former Governor refused to acknowledge them. Most obvious are
- both plans include an individual mandate,
- both offer subsidies through Medicaid for those who would have trouble buying insurance, and
- both set forth minimum standards for coverage.
Mr. Romney pointed out that the Massachusetts plan did not include cuts to Medicare or increased taxes. Both of these provisions included in the President’s bill are intended as cost control measures designed to keep spending down.
Mr. Romney noted that the Massachusetts plan did not include any controls over insurance premiums or price controls. Massachusetts residents now pay the highest insurance premiums in the country.
The President needs to recognize this is a state issue
According to Mr. Romney the President is making a mistake trying to implement health care reform on the federal level. The former Governor said that state governments “must take the lead.” The big difference between the Massachusetts plan and the President’s plan is “a state plan versus a federal plan.”
Trying to impose the will of the federal government on 50 sovereign states is the real problem, said the former Governor.
States are beginning to show concern about how federally imposed mandates will impact struggling economies. State governors are concerned about how increased Medicaid eligibility will be paid.
States rights versus federal control. Even if a health care reform bill is passed by Congress, the fighting over the implementation may be just beginning.
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