Wednesday, December 1, 2010

National Review: "RomneyCare has proven to be a disaster in Massachusetts."

Michael Tanner, from National Review has authored what I consider the most comprehensive take down of RomneyCare that I've seen. Not only does he list the similarities between RomneyCare and ObamaCare, but he offers some fairly devastating rebutals for Romney's defenses of his signature accomplishment.

He begins by noting the similarities between his plan and that of the President's.
Romney’s problem is that, despite his demurrals, the parallels between Obamacare and his 2006 Massachusetts reform plan are striking. Both plans are built around an individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase a government-designed insurance plan. Both plans dramatically increase government subsidies and Medicaid eligibility. Both plans use an exchange to redesign the individual and small-group insurance markets, creating a “managed competition” model for insurance. And both Massachusetts and Obamacare prohibit insurers from managing risk, shifting costs from older and sicker individuals to the young and healthy. Neither Obamacare nor Romneycare includes any substantial cost-containment mechanism.
The results thus far.
Romneycare has proven to be a disaster in Massachusetts, providing a clear vision of the future under Obamacare. The number of uninsured has been reduced — at great cost — but the program has failed to achieve the promise of universal coverage. The subsidies and other costs have proven an enormous burden for the state budget. Insurance premiums have continued to rise, leading Massachusetts to attempt to impose premium caps and even a global budget. Insurers are losing money and threatening to pull out of the state.
Romney: "We didn't raise taxes."
Romney has taken to making three arguments in his defense. First, he criticizes Obamacare for its $669 billion in tax increases, claiming that the Massachusetts plan did not increase taxes. That is technically true — if you consider only the legislation as Romney signed it.
Not so fast....
However, it is also true that the legislation relied heavily on federal subsidies — more than $300 million — and was still underfunded. Romney’s successor was forced both to cut back on some benefits that the plan originally offered and to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack ($154 million annually) to help pay for the program. The state also imposed approximately $89 million in fees and assessments on health-care providers and insurers.
Romney: "I vetoed the bad parts, but was overridden."
Second, Romney correctly points out that he used his line-item veto to challenge several objectionable provisions of the bill, including its employer mandate, but had his vetoes overridden by the Democratic-controlled legislature.
What did you expect to happen in Liberal Massachusetts? Did you not have the foresight to know your vetoes would not hold?
To some degree those vetoes were an exercise in political theater, since the override was always a given. In the end, Romney signed the bill itself, even knowing that the objectionable provisions would be put back in. And he continues to support some of the plan’s worst aspects, notably the individual mandate.
Romney: "What's good for Massachusetts isn't necessarily good for the rest of the country."
Finally, Romney criticizes Obamacare as a “one size fits all” federal plan, whereas his plan was implemented in only one state. That’s true. Governor Romney only messed up the health-care system in Massachusetts, while President Obama has messed up health care for the entire country. Of course, as governor, Romney didn’t have the power to impose his model outside of his state. He now says that he opposes any national plan, calling for states to experiment with different approaches as the “laboratories of democracy.” That would certainly be an improvement over Obamacare.
Then why have you called RomneyCare a model for the nation?
On the other hand, he has repeatedly said that he sees the Massachusetts plan as a model for the nation and has urged other states to copy his approach.
Romney: "It's the ultimate conservative plan."
Other than the defenses above, Romney has so far been surprisingly stubborn, refusing to back down from his backing of the Massachusetts plan, calling it “a conservative plan.” In March, he told Fox News, “I think our plan is working well. And perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that it is saving lives. It is the ultimate pro-life effort, if you will, because people who otherwise could have lost their lives are now able to get the kind of care that they deserve.”
It's unlikely that GOP primary voters will agree with that assessment.

Read the entire article HERE ('Romney's Chronic Health Care Problem')

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read this marvelous article this morning. States’ Rights are all fine and dandy, but the other 49 of us have the right to reject this. MA may all have the constitutional right to mandates female circumcision, but that does not make such a mandate morally correct. The fact is that MA gave Mr. Obama political cover for Obamacare. Add that to the bank bail-outs, phony financial reform and now the food bill passed yesterday with the help of Mr. Brown and I for one have had quite enough of this non-sense and I am in no mood to vote for a chap who is too short-sited to veto such non sense in his own state. Enough is enough!

OHIO JOE

Illinoisguy said...

It's amazing that so many of you so called conservatives believe it was just fine that the taxpayers of Massachusetts were MANDATED to pay for people's healthcare who could have paid for their own insurance, but have a big problem when those same people are MANDATED to pay for their own. Extremely bewildering to me! I've been a conservative for 40 years and as I understand it the new MANDATE is one hell of a lot more conservative that the socialistic system they had before.

Right Wingnut said...

I-Guy,

If you believe that argument, I'm guessing you agree with Mitt that Romneycare should be considered as a model for the nation?

Anonymous said...

How is that mandate thing working now? The issue of deadbeats is still not totally solved and we have market distortions because of mandates. While mandates are not in and of themselves Socialism, it is not a good example of capitalism and in this case, it helped give political cover to Mr. Obama's Socialism.


OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

The assertions that both actual and threatened additional veto overrides were somehow insignificant makes this entire analysis a joke.

Illinoisguy said...

RWN - don't distort Mitt's words. He has made it clear that states should come up with their own solutions, not having a one size fits all national plan. He has stated that other states can borrow what the like about the Mass plan if they choose to. They can use as much of it or as little of it (or none) as they choose.

OJ, do you even admit that the mandate is better than what they had before? I would readily grant you that it would be better if people would have take personal responsibility on their own with no government mandate, BUT they weren't....TAXPAYERS were paying their bills.

Tracey said...

I - Guy These guys are hopeless. They actually believe Sarah Palin is competent to be President of the US. What more needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

"They actually believe Sarah Palin is competent to be President of the US." Ah, yeah, at least she is bright enough not to promote mandates.


OHIO JOE

Anonymous said...

Mandates BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!

Let me guess...you must live in a RED state. If you lived in a BLUE state you would be familiar with the abuse that FREELOADERS inflict on a GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. I am well aware of the that kind of abuse and I do not see anything wrong with a MANDATE that requires one to pay for their own health care, especially one that in line with its STATES CONSTITUTION. It was a FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE approach to a problem in a BLUE STATE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6DrH6P9OC0&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous said...

"What did you expect to happen in Liberal Massachusetts? Did you not have the foresight to know your vetoes would not hold?"

He had the foresight to know that his veto would not hold over whatever plan Ted Kennedy came up with on his own. Better to hook up with the Heritage Foundation and try to make it the best that he could in that environment.

Sarcasm on:

Oh, but on the other hand, he didn't bravely stand against liberals like Sarah Palin did (until it got too rough for her and she quit) in that deep blue state of Alaska. Alaska has so many Democrats that the winner of the senate seat in the recent election was a Republican, and the runner up was ALSO a Republican. Talk about a tough environment for Republican solutions! Yikes, I don't know how she even lasted 2 years...

Right Wingnut said...

At last the Heritage Foundation admits to it's error.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney must be tired of answering questions about his position on Obamacare, yet questions remain.

We know he’s against it, but how does he square his opposition to it with his support for a similar plan in Massachusetts? His answer - what’s good for the states is not always good for the country - looks increasingly weak now that flaws in the Massachusetts model are coming to light. And yesterday, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Moffit, an erstwhile supporter of the Massachusetts plan, declared in a Washington Post op-ed that Heritage’s support for the individual mandate, a central feature of both Romney’s plan and Obama’s, was mistaken. “Our research . . . has led us to realize our initial idea was operationally ineffective and legally defective,” Moffit wrote.

Moffit wrote that he first noted problems with the individual mandate in a Spring 2008 paper he published in the Harvard Health Policy Review. He did not officially renounce his past support for the Massachusetts plan, but he did use Massachusetts as an example of how the individual mandate fails to achieve its intended purpose. The problem with the mandate is that it has to be enforced - an idea that is unpopular and that few politicians are willing to see through. “In Massachusetts,” Moffit wrote, “the first state to enact an individual mandate with tax penalties and fines, the public authorities have already exempted approximately 60,000 persons from its terms.”


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/20/opinion/main6414210.shtml

Anonymous said...

Sounds like one person from the Heritage Foundation, not the group as a whole, believes it doesn't work because the mandate is not enforced.
How does that square with people who chant "mandate mandate mandate" as the great boogeyman, if its not even enforced?

Right Wingnut said...

The Heritage Foundation has been trying to distance itself from this all year. Nice spin attempt though.

Right Wingnut said...

Why are 60,000 people exempt from the mandate? Bosman--any idea?

Anonymous said...

"At last the Heritage Foundation admits to it's error."

Summing up that article, which addresses ONE member, who now feels a single (but important) aspect of the bill is flawed, is a better example of spin.

Right Wingnut said...

This article has been the "Most Viewed" article on NRO for two days.

Not good for Mitt...

Anonymous said...

Tanner's contention that the parallels are striking is wrong. The parallels are few. The two plans are barely similar. One keeps health care in the private sector, one moves medical decisions to government bureaucracies and yes, death panels. The comparison of the exchange is false as well. The idea is similar but the implementation is different. One plan is state based and constitutional and other is unconstitutional. This idea that insurance companies are prohibited from managing risk is a distortion. They are able to spread the risk by including everyone through the mandate. And the cost-containment argument is the most false. There are two cost bases. One is the cost of insurance and administering the plan. The otehr costs come from the providers of care, medicine, equipment, labwork, xrays, etc. The latter can only be contained by making healthcare work like a market, which is what Romney has been pushing for years. Insurance reform cannot contain costs of care.

Rather than compare the two plans to one another, it would be more helpful to compare those plans to what should have been done. What is the right thing to do? Who has a better plan? Lets compare that to what we have now. Think about what needs to be done, and see if there is a better way.

Lori

Doug NYC GOP said...

Mr. Tanner article is nothing but a re-hast of his and CATO's previous talking points. Seems they float these themes every few months, with little or no effect. This article was particulary weak, in it has a very "cut and paste" feel to it.

RWN, should we just call you "Romney Concern Troll" from now on? ;D

That Heritage Article you dredged up is from April -- old news and one man's opinion.