Posts Tagged ‘RomneyCare’
April 10th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
Romney Enjoying 60 Percent Approval Rating … Amongst Romney Advisers
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So ubiquitous is coverage of presidential candidates in this 24-hour news cycle era — and so pervasive is the numbness that results — that it’s easy to lose sight of some truly bizarre developments in this year’s election cycle; developments that have seen their novelty rusted away by saturation coverage.

Among them: the signature achievement in the political career of Mitt Romney, the almost certain Republican nominee for president (especially with Rick Santorum leaving the race today), is so deeply unpalatable to conservatives that it even divides his advisers. Consider this, from Politico:

Two of the five members of [Mitt] Romney’s recently announced Health Care Policy Advisory Group have a record of opposition to his Massachusetts health care reform plan.

Paul Howard, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a new addition to Romney’s advisory team, wrote in late 2010 that Romney’s plan has resulted in a dramatic increase in insurance costs for small businesses.

He also said it’s “no secret” that the state plan was the “template” for President Barack Obama’s federal health care law.

Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and another new Romney health adviser, was sharply critical of Romney’s health plans in 2007 while Atlas was supporting New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

“Mitt Romney’s legacy is the creation of a multibillion dollar government health bureaucracy that punishes employers and insists middle income individuals either purchase health insurance or pay for their own health care,” Atlas told reporters. “The former is a mandate, the latter is a tax and neither one is free market.”

Lest the point be oversold, we should note that past Republican nominees have accessorized their necks with similar albatrosses. John McCain, for instance, was the co-author of a federal campaign finance law loathed by conservatives because it is inimical to political free speech. But there’s still a slight difference: Romney’s policy liability deals with one of the defining issues of the election he’ll be running in — and it also happened to be the intellectual predicate for his opponent’s crowning legislative achievement.

Virtually all the energy that has animated the conservative movement over the last three years — energy best exemplified by the Tea Party — has come in reaction to Obamacare and the government overreach it represents. Now the Republican Party will march into electoral battle behind the progenitor of that intrusion. We live in strange times.

January 14th, 2012 at 12:42 pm
The High Hurdle of Romneycare

At the American Spectator, I recommend reading Andrew McCarthy’s explanation about why Romneycare makes Mitt Romney a weak candidate against Barack Obama. Here, let me add a few more thoughts on the subject. I think this is McCarthy’s best paragraph in a piece full of good paragraphs:

[S]ome things are wrong everywhere. One such thing is a massive government infiltration into the private economy, one that coerces the purchase of a commodity (health insurance) as a condition of living in the state. For one thing, such an exercise in steroid statism establishes a rationale in law for government intrusion into every aspect of private life: If health care is deemed a corporate asset, then “bad” behavioral choices must be regulated, lest someone get more than his share. Romney portrayed Romneycare as a model, at least for other states, if not for the nation. But no free-market, limited-government conservative thinks this officious onslaught is a model to be emulated anyplace.

Here at CFIF I made a similar argument back in June, although not as well as McCarthy has now made it:

It doesn’t matter one bit if Mitt Romney’s “individual mandate” was imposed by a state instead of by the feds; either way, a government forcing people to buy a product the person doesn’t want, just by virtue of living and breathing within the government’s jurisdiction, is a government without any real limits whatsoever.Tyranny is tyranny at any level.  By Romney’s logic, it would be better still if your local township, rather than the state, could send police to oversee you filling out your insurance application and writing the check. Next stop: SWAT teams to escort you to the hardware store to buy widgets. Federalism is, of course, an important principle. Using states as “laboratories of democracy” is a good and practical idea. But federalism should never be an excuse for despotism. What’s wrong is wrong. It’s not a matter of practicality but of morality writ large.

McCarthy goes on to note this:

There is no serious person who doubts that Romneycare was the building block for Obamacare: The experts who helped design the former were consulted in the creation of the latter. Yet Romney continues to insist that Romneycare is a smashing success, one he suggests he’d do again without hesitation.

It still baffles me that Romney’s opponents haven’t yet made this case successfully in the debates.

December 27th, 2011 at 11:51 am
The Full Mandate: Gingrich Not Just for a “Bond”

If anybody actually cares about integrity and freedom, this latest news should be big trouble for Newt Gingrich. Somebody (I need to find out who) dug up this old memo from Gingrich praising Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan in fulsome terms, and especially praising its individual mandate to buy health insurance:

The individual mandate requires those who earn enough to afford insurance to purchase coverage, and subsidies will be made available to those individuals who cannot afford insurance on their own. We agree strongly with this principle, but the details are crucial when it comes to the structure of this plan. … In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upwards of $54,000 per year.

On one hand, this isn’t the most astonishing news: Gingrich has been quoted for 17 years in favor of some sort of individual mandate, and this 2006 citation isn’t even the most recent one. On the other hand, Gingrich has insisted that his proposal was something a little different — some sort of “bond” that rich people would put up — and, also, that he really started moving away from even that “bond” mandate after a while because, really, the reason he was for a mandate was in order to have a conservative alternative to Hillarycare in 1994. At other times he has tried hard to play down or soften the edges of his support for a mandate. But this is unequivocal, and it is within the past six years, and it shows not a single hesitation about undermining individual liberty. Indeed, Gingrich’s only complaint is a class-warfare-inducing lament: Romney stuck the mandate on lower-middle-income earners, whereas Gingrich only would apply it to middle-middle-income earners. Gee, what a relief! (Not!)

Even worse, Gingrich is to the left of Romney on Romney’s own health plan. Romney at worst has only tentatively recommended Romneycare as a whole as a model for the nation; and this year, he has become like a broken record saying he would never impose a mandate via the federal government, and that Romneycare was an example of state-level federalism in action, unique to the circumstances of Massachusetts. Gingrich, on the other hand, wrote this: “The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system.” Those lines led directly into his discussion of the mandate, which Gingrich described as an example of requiring “personal responsibility.”

All of which leads back to what I said in my May 17 column here on this site, namely that Gingrich and Romney both flunk conservative political philosophy. I repeat now what I wrote then: “[T]he issue here isn’t utility, but liberty. Mussolini ‘made the trains run on time,’ but that should never have justified his authoritarianism. Essential liberty must never be sacrificed on some central planner’s altar of efficiency.”

Or, for that matter, on some former Speaker’s warped notion of what does and doesn’t qualify as “personal responsibility.”

UPDATE: The discoverer of this memo was BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski.

November 2nd, 2011 at 2:02 am
Romney-Ryan Ticket in 2012?

First, Paul Ryan said he isn’t running for president in 2012.  Then, he said he wouldn’t close the door on being someone’s vice presidential running mate next year.  Now, he tells the Weekly Standard that Mitt Romney can be trusted to repeal Obamacare even though it bears a striking resemblance to Romneycare in Massachusetts.

Could it be that Ryan – perhaps like Chris Christie – is angling for a spot in the Romney veepstakes?

July 5th, 2011 at 11:38 pm
Tea Party Favorite Endorses Romney for President
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For a state with an overwhelmingly Republican tilt, Utah can produce some political headscratchers. Consider:

Utah’s former governor, Jon Huntsman, is running for president as the most moderate candidate in the GOP field, despite being the former chief executive of the nation’s most Republican state. Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a hardcore conservative beloved by the Tea Party, is a former Huntsman staffer, but he’s also likely to challenge incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch next year with the argument that Hatch is too much of a RINO for residents of the Beehive State to send back to Capitol Hill. At the same time, it was announced today that Chaffetz is backing former Massachusetts governor (and one-time Utah resident) Mitt Romney for president, on the grounds that Romney is the most electable candidate in the GOP field.

It’s hard to keep all these machinations straight, but one thing’s for certain: the usually laudable Chaffetz will pay a price with his Tea Party base for coming out early for Romney. Romney’s Massachusetts health care reform was a dry run for Obamacare, right down to the individual mandate that makes tea partiers shutter.

By Chaffetz’s own admission, Romney is a friend. But while that loyalty is laudable, it need not extend to elevating Romney over other presidential contenders this early in the process.

Chaffetz claims Romney’s economic experience makes him the logical choice in 2012. For his sake, he better be right. As Mitt would probably tell him, there’s nothing worse than saddling yourself with an illiquid asset that goes bust.

May 19th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
Obama Previews RomneyCare Attacks

Byron York relays why nominating Mitt Romney for president is so distasteful for Republican voters.

“With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts, we said that health care should no longer be a privilege in this country,” Obama said.  “It should be affordable and available for every American.”

A short time later, at a smaller fundraiser in a private home in Brookline, Obama said, “Our work isn’t done.  Yes, we passed health care, with an assist from a former Massachusetts governor.”  The crowd, which had paid $35,800 per couple to attend, broke into laughter and applause.  “Great idea,” Obama added.  “But we still have to implement it.”

April 11th, 2011 at 10:16 pm
Bad Timing Dogs Romney’s Presidential Roll-Out
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Well, the worst kept secret in presidential politics is now out in the open — Mitt Romney is running for president again in 2012:

This should provide plenty of fodder for tomorrow’s editions of the major national newspapers. One problem: tomorrow will also mark the fifth anniversary of Romney affixing his signature to healthcare reform in Massachusetts. With one of Romney’s key advisers on that piece of legislation openly declaring it to the be the intellectual model for Obamacare, Tuesday’s stories may not be as glowing as the former Bay State governor imagines. Nor may the returns from the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.

February 28th, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Obama Damns Romney with Faint Praise
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Though the 2012 presidential season hasn’t started quite yet, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earned an endorsement earlier today that he’s probably not too happy about. While addressing the National Governors Association at the White House, President Obama complimented his would-be challenger in a fashion that will come back to haunt Romney come primary season. As USA Today reports:

In telling critical GOP governors they could develop their own health care plans, Obama said, “I know that many of you have asked for flexibility” under the new federal law.

“In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions,” Obama said.

In a limited sense, Romney should take the remarks as a compliment. Though Obama’s invocation of the Massachusetts health care plan is partially intended to make Obamacare seem centrist, the president also knows that it will cause grief for the former governor with the GOP rank and file. As such, it’s a sign that Romney is a potential opponent Obama wouldn’t mind seeing knocked out of contention.

In a bigger sense, however, Romney is stuck with an albatross. Ask most conservatives what they consider the greatest sin of the Obama Administration and they will point to the government takeover of health care without hesitation. For any potential Republican presidential candidate, having an executive record that includes creating the program that Obama cites as his intellectual template is devastating.

Translation: it may be bad for Romney that Obama took a shot at him. But it’s much worse that Romney gave him the ammunition.

February 25th, 2011 at 2:10 pm
Media Announces Start of GOP 2012 Campaign

Like emaciated jackals hungry for fresh meat MSNBC’s political staff announced today that the GOP 2012 campaign is now underway.  The reason?  Mike Huckabee (R-AR) made the rather unsurprising link between Massachusetts’ individual mandate law passed under then-Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) and the almost identical requirement in ObamaCare.  Mitt’s “RomneyCare” problem has been so well documented it’s not worth a verifying hyperlink.

That said, the fact that Huckabee’s identifying of the main obstacle in Romney’s path to the GOP nomination is being treated like a campaign salvo is too much; especially since neither man has formally announced a candidacy.  At the earliest, it looks like Newt Gingrich might be the first to take the plunge sometime next month.  For now, MSNBC’s announcement is just the latest attempt to goad the pack of likely candidates into justifying a political reporter’s salary.