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May 10th, 2011 1:06 pm
Tough Diagnosis for Romney

The Wall Street Journal today fired a tough shot across the bow of Mitch Romney, and in the process again gave fair warning about the dangers of Obamacare.

Romney will try to answer on Thursday.

Here are the bad stats that the WSJ cites:

A new survey released yesterday by the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals that fewer than half of the state’s primary care practices are accepting new patients, down from 70% in 2007, before former Governor Mitt Romney’s health-care plan came online. The average wait time for a routine checkup with an internist is 48 days. It takes 43 days to secure an appointment with a gastroenterologist for chronic heartburn, up from 36 last year, and 41 days to see an OB/GYN, up from 34 last year…..

Massachusetts health regulators also estimate that emergency room visits jumped 9% between 2004 and 2008, in part due to the lack of routine access to providers. … Another notable finding in the Medical Society survey is the provider flight from government health care. Merely 43% of internists and 56% of family physicians accept Commonwealth Care.

Romney’s answer supposedly will include these ideas:

Bullet points issued by the campaign suggest the four major planks of the speech will be: restoring state responsibility “to care for their poor, uninsured and chronically ill” – or, presumably, Medicaid; giving people who buy their own insurance tax deductions similar to the ones granted to businesses; streamlining federal regulations that apply to the health-care industry; and focusing on market-based reforms.

It will be quite interesting to see the details. Clearly, Mr. Romney is vulnerable on this issue. Cognoscenti say it is the biggest single black mark against his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

None of this, though, helps Romney explain why he accepted an individual mandate to purchase health insurance as part of Romneycare. On principle alone, that should always have been a non-starter.

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