Why Romneycare Shouldn’t Worry Conservatives – Obama Should.
I wanted to take a moment and explain why I believe Romneycare shouldn’t be an issue in the primary election and especially not in the general.
First, and this is most important, Romneycare was designed as a state program. It was designed for a state with 95% of the population already insured. It was designed for a state with the third highest income per capita in the United States. It was designed for a state to encourage those people who could afford health care to buy their own rather than mooch off the state.
This is an important point to understand. The federal government required states to have their hospitals pay for all who pass through their doors needing care. This increase in spending has to be met somewhere. In most states it resulted in increased taxes, or in the case of Massachusetts, Romneycare. The solution of Romneycare is actually preferable, in Massachusetts, than raising their 5.3% flat tax. Romneycare doesn’t affect the 95% of the already insured in the state. It also doesn’t affect the people making less than 150% of the federal poverty rate. It only affects those who can afford insurance, and don’t choose to have it. Here’s the crux of the whole argument:
Those who choose NOT to buy insurance, are saying that the state will take care of them in times of trouble. Problem is, without increasing the 5.3% tax rate, you can’t pay for those people and maintain a balanced budget. So what did Romney do? He created a plan that said “Sure, you can be on the government dole, but you’ll have to pay a premium to the state.” It came in the form of a fee or a tax, however you want to talk about it.
The mandate is not “Buy insurance or else!” It’s “Buy insurance if you don’t want to pay the government for assuming the risk and cost of your health care.” This isn’t a mandate. It’s paying for what is legally required by the federal government in a fiscally responsible way that hurts the smallest amount of MA citizens possible.
The real problem is the federal mandate to the states requiring them to treat anyone who comes in those doors, including illegal immigrants. There’s the true problem. Romneycare is a symptomatic solution of that problem, and until we resolve that issue, there will always be higher taxes or Romneycare (basically a raised tax to account for bad federal policy) in play. Also, it’s the state’s right to find a solution to the issue. It’s not imposing it on the nation, regardless of unemployment rates, etc.
The real other issue is Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t designed for a very rich state that’s primarily covered. It’s a program that provides treatment to a vast amount of Americans who are unemployed, under employed, or are at or below the poverty line. The amount of cost, spread over the nation, would be phenomenal. It would blow a hole into our budget much like a black hole. Illegals, poor Americans, Amerians barely making it, would all be supported by others already paying for their own insurance. Romney care didn’t raise taxes to pay for the program, except for those people who choose not to get insurance. Obamacare on the other hand took 500 billion from Medicaid to pay for this program. The other 500 billion will also come from tax payer dollars. The state solution works. The Federal program is a huge burden on our economy and threatens to turn our nation into a socialistic state. It’s simply wrong and unsustainable without raising taxes severely.
Romneycare is a very precise, calculated solution. Obamacare is a broad sweep of the brush that leaves a gaping wound rather than a finely crafted solution.
This debate should not be about Romneycare that was supported by all but 2 people in the MA Legislature and favored 3 to 1 in the state. This is a bipartisan solution that most people stand by. Obamacare on the other hand, is not supported by nearly as many in the Congress or in the nation. It’s very different than Romneycare and ignores all the specific variables Romney took into account. Obama does what he always does: recklessly runs in where he doesn’t know where he’s going. It’s been the story of his presidency.