Friday, March 11, 2011

A Romneycare Fix for Romney?

Kudos to Jeff Jacoby of Town Hall for presenting a constructive view of Mitt Romney's Health Care plan.

What Jacoby did in an article was present some parts of the plan that he feels may be troublesome to some. He suggested that Romney may want to point out specifics on how he would do the plan differently knowing what he knows now. 
So what would Romney change about the Massachusetts law? Governor Deval Patrick's idea of a fix is legislation that would effectively impose price controls on doctors and hospitals, with state regulators deciding how much health-care providers should be paid, and then compelling insurers to accept those rates. But price controls nearly always do more harm than good, and Patrick's bill is likely to result in making health care even more unaffordable or unavailable in Massachusetts. Presumably Romney isn't planning to endorse his successor's proposal. 
As far as insurance companies being regulated in MA resulting in higher premiums, he points out, 
Reasonable people can disagree on whether health-insurance in Massachusetts is over- or under-regulated. Certainly 47 mandated benefits seem moderate compared to the 60 that are required in Texas, or the 69 in Rhode Island. On the other hand, Hawaii imposes only 23 mandates, and Idaho only 13. 
Jacoby suggests that Romney could champion the following in regards to Health Care reform:

Because insurance-licensing laws amount to a one-size-fits-all straitjacket at the state level, and only the 3 large complanies, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, and Tufts -- control 85 percent of the market there,  
He (Romney) should promote legislation that would allow Massachusetts residents to purchase any health insurance policy that is properly licensed in any other state, and for that policy to be enforced according to that state's laws. If you like Massachusetts-style health-insurance regulation, you would shop for a health plan here. But those looking for more affordable coverage -- or for even more mandated benefits -- would be free to buy a policy from any licensed insurer in the country.

Opening the Massachusetts health-insurance market to nationwide competition would be a boon for consumers. It would force local quasi-monopolies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, to compete harder on price -- without having regulators twist arms or control premiums. It would make RomneyCare more palatable to more voters. And it would give Beacon Hill some real-world evidence of the level of regulation Massachusetts citizens actually prefer.
Read the Complete story HERE.

Perhaps Jacoby is on to something. Romney has stated that one of the best ways to bring insuranse premiums down is to allow citizens of states to purchase accross state lines. Why not  suggest this as a possible way to lower premium costs in MA? Even if Romney knows that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick and the Democratic majority in the legislature would laugh it off. At least by suggesting this, Romney would be supplying critics with a specific as to how the MA plan can be improved and more importantly, seperating himself from how HE would improve it versus the MA Democrats that want to maintain the status quo.

11 comments:

Closer To Home said...

Great post, BOS! The discussion is moving in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Kudos.

And yes the conversation is moving beyond the talk radion plaitudes, into specifics, for which many wannabe's are woefully unprepared to discuss.

doug NYC GOP

Ellie said...

Holy crap, bosman! A reasonable argument, presented to the unreasonable wing of the GOP!

BOSMAN said...

Thanks guys,

I really think it's at the point now where Romney has to say more than, There are things I would do differently.

He needs to lets America know WHAT THINGS, and then shout it from the rooftops.

DanL said...

Strategically, I could see MassCare hurting Romney, especially in the primary. But I am really glad that he did something. We very much need more leaders to actually address healthcare and get things done.

Closer To Home said...

Isn't that kind of going to be the point when it gets right down to it?

"While the rest of America was doing little to nothing, I did the best that could be done with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature and with the knowledge we had available at the time. If you want an example of someone who leads about nothing, look at our current CIC. He let the dem congress lead on healthcare. He hasn't led at all in the middle east. He hasn't done anything to create jobs. If you're looking to hire someone to get things done, and won't make excuses, then I'm your candidate."

Anonymous said...

"I really think it's at the point now where Romney has to say more than, There are things I would do differently.

He needs to lets America know WHAT THINGS, and then shout it from the rooftops."


Great point Bos.

zeke

Larry said...

I agree. I've heard Romney say there are things he would change. I've never heard specifics.

He should write an op-ed to Dem Governor of MA and the Democratic Congress with What he thinks would make the program better. He should also remind everyone of the items he wanted to include the legislature refused to pass.

Socrates said...

I thought you nailed it in your summary.

I also agree with Larry's point about an op-ed pointing out what needs to be done.

ConMan said...

Perhaps Romney is holding off on revealing the specifics until he declares his candidacy.

Dave said...

The reason he hasn't engaged in specifics is that he doesn't want a digression from the major themes of his campaign.....which are addressing the debt, getting the economy back on a solid growth track, and reducing unemployment by growing the private sector.

Any time he spends talking about MassCare is time spent on defense.