Monday, April 12, 2010

Romneycare vs. Obamacare

by David Alvord

Let's face it. Healthcare is a problem that needed to be dealt with...and still does need to be dealt with. The costs of healthcare are increasing way beyond that of inflation. Not only is Medicare going bankrupt, but there are abuses and waste that are spiraling out of control.

Romney is just the kind of guy who could take all of the data for such an important and complicated problem and make the necessary changes. That's what he did in the private sector. He and his team would look at large businesses and analyze the data to see where there was waste or duplication. He would in essence, turn them around and make them profitable. That's also what Romney did in Massachusetts, he balanced the State's budget in a time of crisis. I believe that he can do the same for America.

The irony is that Obamacare looks a lot like Romneycare.

Or does it? One of my favorite sites, Evangelicals for Mitt, names just four of the important distinctions between the two plans:

In summary the major distinctions they cite are:

1. RomneyCare was uniquely designed for Massachusetts; ObamaCare is a one-size-fits-all imposition on all states, regardless of their economic condition.

2. RomneyCare was enacted only after Mitt balanced the state budget.

3. Mitt created bipartisan consensus while Obama rammed his reform down our throats and against the majority opinion of the American people.

4. RomneyCare is constitutional; ObamaCare may very well prove to be an unconstitutional abuse of federal power.

These are important distinctions, but I feel there are two more major differences between the two plans:

5. The democrats plan is designed, in the long run, to destroy private health insurance altogether. When Romney was in office, he brought insurance companies to the table and wrote a bill that they agreed to. Romney never had designs to bring to pass Universal and government run healthcare. This is a guy who is passionate about the private sector and understands the simple truth that the private sector will always outperform the government-run. It is only years later, and in a weakened economy, that the State of Massachusetts has placed price controls and regulated the premiums that now threaten private healthcare insurance in Massachusetts. The democrats have taken over and now so-called Romneycare is morphing into Obamacare. This is a very, very important distinction.

6. Romney was not in a position to fix the major problems that exist in healthcare. If you want to understand why Romneycare and Obamacare do share some similarities, is due to the fact that as Governor, Romney had to deal with the federal mandates that already existed. Romney couldn't address Medicare or Medicaid. Those were Federally run. Romney couldn't address lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. When it came to controlling the rising costs of healthcare, Romney's hands were tied.

The President, on the other hand, had the opportunity to address rising costs by allowing competition between state lines. Obama could have included Tort reform. Obama could have reformed Medicare. Obama could have looked at Medicaid. Instead, Obama has created a trillion dollar program that does nothing to keep the prices down. If the federal government were a business, they'd be bankrupt. But the feds have the ultimate business plan: Pay up or go to jail!

I am convinced that if Romney had the mandate to make Federal Healthcare reform, the result would have been very different from the so-called Romneycare that exists in Massachusetts today.

It is disingenuous to peg the problems in Massachusetts on Mitt Romney. Each of have filed our 2009 taxes. We each have to budget within those parameters. Does that mean we are responsible for the US tax code? Does that mean we are each responsible for the deficits and national debt? Likewise, Romney had to operate in the environment imposed by the Feds. His was a State where 90% already had healthcare. There was a small percentage that were slipping through the cracks that he helped to get coverage, that's all. He wasn't "reforming healthcare". He didn't have the power. You really can't honestly compare the two.

The Republicans now need to tackle healthcare. We need to do more than to simply repeal the law. We need a better law of our own. We need to address the major sources of price inflation, namely, tort reform, entitlement spending, waste, and competition. We need to get a bill that will address Medicare and control the costs. Our country is going to go bankrupt and this new law only speeds that process along. We can't blame Obama solely for the problems in our budget, but the recently passed law has done nothing but fan the flames and add fuel to the fire. Government needs to be regulated and cut. Not the other way around. Romney understands this and I believe that it is a mistake for him to be judged unfairly.

I invite each of you to obtain a copy of Romney's book "No Apology". I have read the book, and frankly, couldn't put it down. In it, you will discover the real Mitt Romney and will, like me, eagerly anticipate his presidency.

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