Gruber tells me, “What I can tell you is that there was an active debate on the individual mandate.” He explains, “On one hand, Romney felt people were free-riding” on the health care system — that is, remaining uninsured but burdening the government health care system when they became sick or injured. On the other hand, Gruber says, was the “freedom” argument about the mandate. He says, “What I’d like to think carried the day was that I pointed out that without the mandate you would spend the same money and cover fewer people.”Of course, now Romney is backing away. I wish he wouldn't. There were good reasons then to support an individual mandate, as cited by Gruber. Regardless, this brings me to something that I think we should all discuss at Right Speak.
Gruber says in the one face-to-face meeting he had with Romney, it was clear Romney had made the “final call.” Gruber tells me: “He was the champion of the plan. He really was the consummate management consultant.”
I just recently had a conversation with John G and we both agreed that the political discourse within conservative circles has almost entirely neglected policy discussions. Instead, we are driven by personality cults. We have raised leaders above the ideas that ought to fuel the conservative movement. Romney's health care policies perfectly describe this dearth of serious debate.
On the one hand, Rombots insist that it is very significant that Romneycare's individual mandate was a state program and Obamacare's individual mandate was a federal program. They don't explain why this matters from a policy standpoint, only from a constitutional standpoint. What is left unsaid is that Romney really does believe that the individual mandate is good policy. That is why he put it in place in MA. But because of their desire to cover Romney from being implicated in Obamacare, the Rombots argue day and night about the "differences" (there are a few) between the two health care programs.
On the other hand, Romney's opponents could care less about having an actual debate about Romneycare and the individual mandate. For them, the policy details don't matter either. They are attached to a different candidate and so they want to hammer Romney over his health care plan. Some of Romney's opponents have even straight-faced lied about his plan in order to blast Romney himself. In today's political environment, ideas have become less important than the candidates themselves.
Folks, there has got to be a better way than this. I have defended Romneycare over and over again and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I kind of, sort of prefer Romney. In fact, I am not sure if I am going to support him again (calling Jeb or Mitch?). I try to frequently criticize him. There is much that I disagree with Romney on.
It does us no good to divide into 'candidate camps.' Romney will not save us. Neither will Palin. Responsible, limited government based on conservative principles will. Let's not forget that.