Six years ago, Massachusetts’ then-Governor Mitt Romney signed the Commonwealth’s universal health insurance act into law. Try as Romney might, there is no doubt whatsoever that Obamacare directly descends from Romneycare – it is the Massachusetts plan writ large and federalized. Six years is the half-life, apparently, where a conservative path towards universal coverage becomes socialism.
But Romneycare has resulted in an almost 100% coverage rate in Massachusetts, and though not perfect, has been dubbed a success story.
Yet the 2012 model of Mitt Romney has nothing whatsoever to say about Romneycare on its sixth anniversary in the middle of a Presidential campaign. It’s his most significant and marketable achievement, and he’s painted himself into a rhetorical corner to avoid drawing attention to the similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare. They’re almost identical.
Romney’s argument in 2012 is that he’s proud of Romneycare, but disagrees with the notion that every state be required to follow one particular model. It’s the cowardly Republican’s disingenuous argument – when in doubt, go with state’s rights. The problem is that the crisis – really the shame – of uninsurance and underinsurance is a national one, one that requires a national response. The problems of medical bankruptcies (handled exclusively in federal courts), and of the uninsured using emergency rooms for primary care, the cost of which is then shunted onto taxpayers are national, federal issues.
If Mr. Romney even believes these things to be problems needing solving, he should present a plan to fix them. If he wants to be true to his supposed 10th Amendment feelings, the federal government could simply mandate that states reach universal health insurance coverage, and let them each come up with their own ways to do so.
I eagerly await President Obama to call Mr. Romney on this particular bluff.
Well, Happy Birthday, Romneycare. Thanks for setting up the system that the federal government modified to apply to the entire country!