Marco Rubio just announced a staff led by Mitt Romney's former policy director, Sally Canfield, and a reader sends over Canfield's spirited November, 2007 defense of Romneycare -- which now reads like a relic of a forgotten Republican era:There is one reason why Republicans now consider a plan with an individual mandate a "government takeover of the health care industry." The answer can be summed up in three words: Obama did it.
It should be a shock to no one who believes in deregulation and individual choice that premiums are falling as competition is introduced into the health care market. As a result, today, in Massachusetts, residents can obtain comprehensive, quality health care insurance for as little as $175 a month.
In bringing free-market forces to Massachusetts, Governor Romney has won the praise of conservative organizations. One of the primary supporters of the Massachusetts plan was the Heritage Foundation. They have said, "Those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there." The Club for Growth stated that "Governor Romney deserves credit for proposing a plan that encourages individually-owned health insurance…"
Remember the comment from the Club for Growth's vice president for government affairs this summer? He stated unequivocally that Romney's plan is not conservative. Of course, the recent comment came after 'Obama did it.' I have already posted at length about the Heritage Foundation's mind-boggling hypocrisy. They are the ones who developed the basics of Obamacare/Romneycare. Now they are against their creation. Why? Because Obama supports those ideas.
And then you can point to former supporters of Romney as well. Rick Santorum just cited Romneycare as a reason why Republicans should look elsewhere in 2012. Of course, Santorum didn't mind Romneycare in 2008 when he supported Mitt Romney for president. What happened between then and now that made Romneycare so corrosive?
Obama did it.
In 2007, Jim DeMint was anxious for the Bush administration to push a health care plan that was based off of Romneycare. At the time, DeMint supported Romney for president. Now DeMint seems to be keeping his distance from Romney. In September, he said he wanted to see who else "would step up to the plate." Has Romney done anything since 2008 to warrant DeMint's chilly approval? No, but Obama has.
The reason why so many conservative leaders secretly admire Romneycare, but then outwardly put on a frowny face is because these leaders are mob driven, instead of policy driven. There are reasons to hesitate on the individual mandate, but no policy prescription is perfect. And to date, the individual mandate and health care connector remain the best options for spreading out high risk costs and thus lowering premiums. They also, despite some sudden amnesia, remain free market positions, created and championed by conservatives for more than a decade.
That is, of course, until Obama did it.