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Learn to love Romneycare

Learn to love Romneycare

Of course, it takes a publication like Mother Jones to pull this stuff up, but it hasn’t received a lot of attention since it was published in October.

There’s a curious reference to Teddy having to work in Washington in order for Massachusetts to pass Romneycare.

It hasn’t come up much, but here is an apparent financial explanation from March 2010, just before the House passed the Senate version of Obamacare:

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, an independent candidate for governor, today offered a wide-ranging and scathing criticism of the state’s universal health care law, saying it is bankrupting Massachusetts and will do the same nationally, if a similar plan is passed in Congress.

Cahill, who bolted the Democratic Party in July, has been a long-time critic of the state’s health insurance law….

Cahill said the law is being sustained only with the help of federal aid, which he suggested that the Obama administration is funneling to Massachusetts to help the president make the case for a similar plan in Congress.

“The real problem is the sucking sound of money that has been going in to pay for this health care reform,” Cahill said. “And I would argue that we’re being propped up so that the federal government and the Obama administration can drive it through” Congress.

I blame the other Republican campaigns for not doing the research and publicity to expose Romneycare.  Rick Santorum was good in the last debate, but it’s not enough.

It just goes to show how good a job Romney has done at keeping everyone on defense, and how in-fighting among the not-Romneys is leading us down a path to disaster.

I’m confident we will hear during the general election, if Romney is the nominee, how Romneycare only can survive because of federal help and how that is a justification for a national, not state by state, version of Romneycare, namely, Obamacare.

The argument will be that we can tweak Obamacare, saving the good and getting rid only of the bad.

Where have I heard that before?


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CenterRightMargin | January 31, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I wish this blog would revert back to a dispassionate analysis of things, instead of “all things to attack Romney” – particularly innuendo.

There are significant similarities in Romneycare and Obamacare. But there are significant differences, too. Unfortunately the differences are technical, so it’s hard to explain them in a soundbite.

1. The Employer Mandate & Scope of Control.

Romney actually vetoed the employer mandate in Romneycare, but the Dem legislature overrode him.

Romneycare’s employer mandate requires employers to provide at least 1/3 the cost of a “qualifying plan.” If they don’t, they have to pay $295.00, plus an additional cost if the employee uses MA paid health sevices. Romney also fought for, but lost, on provisions that would make a qualifying plan limited to basic care plus catastrophic.

Obamacare, on the other hand, tells employers of over 50 persons that they must pay $2000.00 if they don’t PROVIDE HC meeting the HHS definition of qualifying plan. This is the power that lets Sebilius tell Catholic Schools that they have to pay to provide RU-486. It also pretty much ends high deductible, health savings account based plans (which could potentially still be bought in MA, though with some obstacles).

Obamacare also tells insurers that they have to spend a certain percentage of their revenues directly on health care services (so that money can’t be used either for profit or for fraud fighting, comparative research, capital costs or advertising). Finally, Obamacare outlaws much of the individual healthcare market. Romneycare doesn’t have that.

2. Individual Mandate

Both Obamacare and Romneycare have an individual mandate. Romney wanted (but did not get) a bond option in there. Both individual mandates are not strong enough to combat the free rider problem, although Gov. Romney has recognized that and proposed a solution (conditioning guaranteed issue on previously having insurance), whereas it’s somewhat of a feature of Obamacare (let’s bankrupt the private insurers). This is the big cost problem associated with Obamacare.

3. Taxes & Rationing

Obamacare included a number of tax increases (the medicare tax increase, the medical devices tax, etc.). It also cut medicare and introduced a rationing board to it. The board itself is an exapnsion of an idea that does exist in Romneycare (a different board with less power; this is the basis of MA looking now to try to use rationing, as opposed to all along).

    So you’re saying Romneycare is good because deep in the details there are small differences that may or may not help prop it up?

    Anyway, specifically on #3, Romney eliminated most tax breaks (raising taxes from 9.3% to 9.9%) and increased more Fees and Fines then any Governor in history in an effort to help pay for his. Plus, he had the benefit of the back-door fed Funding propping it up, which Obamacare did not. Little difference outside technicalities, and both lead to the only viable solution being rationing of Heathcare when they inevitably bankrupt their specific districts.

      CenterRightMargin in reply to Darkstar58. | January 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      I’m not saying Romneycare is good overall.

      From an economics perspective, I have no problem with an individual mandate. From a Constitutional perspective, I do. I am not sure how I feel about it on the state level.

      I do believe that you need a President who lets Liberal states be liberal and Conservative states be Conservative.

      One of the big problems with Obama is that he govern the entire US as if it were more liberal than Massachusetts – he doesn’t care about half (maybe 3/4) of the country. That said, Bush also over-reached on a few things (less so than Obama), which made the blue states nervous and upped the Partisan/Cultural divide. We need a unifying presence in the WH – liberal-conservative, red-state-blue-state.

      As for Romneycare, I give Romney credit for doing what he could in the context of an %80+ Dem legislature. I also give him credit for trying to address both (a) the pre-existing conditions/HC mobility problem (a big deal when you have to move jobs or get let go); and (b) the free-rider problem.

      I don’t like Romneycare, generally – but it doesn’t offend me, either. If Massachussens like it – bully for them, they can have it. If not, they can move to Rhode Island (or Texas).

      But, back to Romneycare, and even to Obamacare, the idea of having a centralized place (an “exchange”) to shop for plans that are certified as actually being financially viable, and not getting killed for a pre-existing condition…. I do like those things. They are good. I do think you need to add a “prior insurance” qualifier, though.

      The problem with Obamacare is that it takes over the entire HC system through the employer mandate and controls on the individual market, is budget busting (far, far more than Romneycare that doesn’t include all of the subsidies or likely applicants over time), raises taxes, guts medicare, basically sets up private insurance to fail, and does something from the distant, federal level that is better left to local people to figure out what’s right for their state’s culture and economics.

      Other than short term impact on costs / not effectively addressing the free-rider problem, you really can’t say that about Romneycare.

      But, yes, it’s technical and complex distinctions that does “muddy the waters” if you want a clear contrast.

        Oh, well you don’t dislike Romneycare (and by default, must take only microscopic issue with Obamacare since they are the exact same things outside minute details and “woulda, coulda, shoulda” excuses.) and instead apparently feel the Government should force us to buy anything they want us to if they so choose. Got it…

        By the way, since you, Romney, all the Romneybots and Democrats everywhere (claim to) have such a hard time with this whole “free rider” =, I’ll fix it for you:

        As the state occurs all debt relating to a failure of a patient to pay his medical fees. And as the state gets funding from the Government for such citizen debts occurred; all failures to pay medical billings will be subject to Federal Prosecution with a minimum 5 years in prison if intent is shown.

        There, fixed your “free loader” issue without forcing everyone everywhere to pay huge amounts of money for lesser coverage in an effort to give free coverage to illegals and deadbeats.

    So it’s WISH Time! O.K. – I have one – I was just wishing that Romney supporters would revert back to being the Liberal Democrats that they are, just like Mitt’s pal Kennedy. Guess neither of us are likely to get our wish.

    Thanks for posting this information Professor – keep up the good work!

      CenterRightMargin in reply to Say_What. | January 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      So wait.

      Because I support (really as a default option since I’d much prefer Paul Ryan or maybe even Mitch Daniels) a pro-family values businessman with 5 sons who donates a ton of his money to his church, ran a succesful business which specialized in making other businesses more lean and efficient, ran the Olympics well, wouldn’t do crazy things like veto the Keystone pipeline or go on the warpath against Fracking and Coal or offshore drilling (permitorium), won’t use the NLRB to help big labor, has adopted the modified Ryan plan for Medicare and is on board for SS reform… that makes me a liberal?

      Because I’m not for Mr. “I won’t debate the President if the Media Morderates” in the primary? Mr. “My SPAC can lie about Bain and make leftist insinuations about wealth but your SPAC can’t make characterizations I disagree with?” Mr. “I took 1.6 million from Freddie’s lobbying arm to ‘be a historian'”? Mr. “Paul Ryan’s plan is right-wing social engineering?” Mr. “I was for a mandate until I was against it?”

      Really? Just checking.

        How much is Mitt paying you to espouse his talking points to us great unwashed conservative masses? I hope it’s a lot cause selling bull is a tough job.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to CenterRightMargin. | January 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm Very similar, in almost every material aspect. From the dispassionate CATO institute.

      CenterRightMargin in reply to William A. Jacobson. | January 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm


      I don’t see anything from CATO in that link, though may be missing it. Just an article from ricochet by an author I don’t recongize that includes the term “anybody but Romney.”

      I also don’t deny that there are strong similarities between Romneycare, and Obamacare.

      Essentially, Obamacare is Romneycare on mega-steroids and applied to the entire nation, instead of a state.

      It’s a fair criticism (although Romneycare my innoculate Romney from some charges of being a “heartless conservative.”).

      But there are significant differences in scope and reach between the two, as well as in costs and intrusion.

      Whereas Romneycare is a bill appropriate for the bluest of blue states (and shaped as much by %80+ Democrat MA legislature as Gov. Romney – he wasn’t going to be able to stop them from passing a healthcare law), Obamacare is Romneycare taken 5 big steps further to the left, and applied to both blue and red states.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to CenterRightMargin. | January 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Romney also fought for, but lost, on provisions that would make a qualifying plan limited to basic care plus catastrophic.

    I don’t know what Romney might implement or support at state level … but that alone is a pretty big deal. If I’m forced into a full coverage plan, in the same grouping with obese, smoking people that don’t exercise … and if I can’t do catastrophic, and I have to pay for insurance for any that desire psych’ drug care when they are unhappy … I’ll be forced to “donate” an extra $12,000 a year.

    Still … we have to look at what was actually done … politicians are experts at pretending to be against something they are actually willing to compromise on. Mitt did that with the gay marriage thing and abortion, AFAIK. Equivocate in the language, then blame the judges.

    “I voted against it but gee, somehow it squeaked through”

      CenterRightMargin in reply to Midwest Rhino. | January 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      It was an %80+ Democratic legislature. What do you expect?

      He can veto the entire thing, and be overriden. Or he can shape it to be as innoffensive as possible in the context that he’s in, and veto parts and hope that there is enough division in the D’s to not override his vetos. 2 of the 8 vetoes held for a little bit (but were eventually overriden).

      As for gay-marriage, his record is pretty good on that (from a Conservative point of view). Ditto stem cell research. He took tough stands in light of his surroundings. But he lost a bunch.

      It’s fricken’ Massa-dukakis-Kennedy-chussets. Seriously, what do you expect?

        so in 2014 when the people give Democrats the House and Senate, Romney will be left of Obama – its Democrat control of congress, what else should we expect…

        Got it!

          CenterRightMargin in reply to Darkstar58. | January 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm

          False premise. False conclusion.

          (1) If the US gives both houses to the Dems with MA like margins, we are all in deep, deep doo-doo.

          (2) Before then, Romney will sign what Boehner and Ryan give him.

          (3) If the Dems just win in a normal cycle down the line, it’s unlikely that they will have veto-overide majorities like they had (and used) in MA.

          (4) Romneycare is more conservative than Obamacare; notwithstanding that Obamacare is indeed an outgrowth of the former – Romneycare on mega-steroids.

          (5) Do you really trust Mr. “Sit on the couch with Pelosi” to be significantly better. At least Romney has self-discipline and it’s not always about him.

          Darkstar58 in reply to Darkstar58. | January 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

          what a load of bull…

          1) we dont have to give MA levels – Mitt just uses that as his excuse for being the single most accomplished Liberal-Agenda Governor of the last 50 years. A 50/50 split with squishes going alone with Dems would probably lead Mitt to go above and beyond anything we got from Obama (based off his track record)

          2) hahaha, yeah, Boehner and McConnell (not Ryan) are sure to give nice juicy “Conservative” bills. I might actually grow wings too. Nice to see you dont think he will lead on anything though, and will instead just go along with whoever the Congress holds proposes.

          3) They dont need Veto-Override majority if the person in the WH (Romney in this case) is a champion for their cause! (see his bragging about Cap&Tax, Pro-Choice, Liberal Judges, etc)

          4) Romneycare is more conservative then Obamacare like having 1/2 your leg amputated instead of 51/100ths is. ohhh, what a win that will be as he does what he can to keep it in place (like he claims, “fixing” the edeges and all…)

          5) Yes, I trust a man who will fight for what he believes over a man who believes in nothing other than what he is told to believe in every day of the week. That is why Romney is worse then Obama even; at least Obama is led by his visions instead of his vanity.

          Newt has actually passed and implemented more Conservative Agenda then any man currently alive. Meanwhile, Romney has passed and implemented more Liberal Agenda then any man alive. That’s as clear of a choice as I have ever seen…

        Snorkdoodle Whizbang in reply to CenterRightMargin. | January 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

        “It’s fricken’ Massa-dukakis-Kennedy-chussets. Seriously, what do you expect?”

        Have you ever asked yourself that same question regarding how Mitt Romney managed to get elected Governor of ‘Massa-dukakis-Kennedy-chussets’?

        So what principles did he embrace in order to win the Governorship? Certainly not conservative principles.

          CenterRightMargin in reply to Snorkdoodle Whizbang. | January 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm

          The same criticisms could have been leveled at Reagan, though CA was much more centrist back in the day than it is now.

          But, yes, Romney is a Moderate-Conservative. Newt’s criticisms on that tack are fair. But Newt’s not really much better, and in non-ideology areas, far, far worse.

          Is Guliani a liberal for getting elected Mayor of NY and being pro-choice (and pro-business)?

          Look, if Paul Ryan or Mitch Daniels or Bob McDonnel were in this race… I wouldn’t be on the Romney train. But, like Rumy said, we don’t go to war with the Army we wish we had.

          Again, it is odd to me that RObamney supporters criticize Newt for sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelousy, but they are just fine that Mitt had Kennedy working with him to get federal money so MA could implement a health care program they can’t afford.

          He’s not a “Moderate Conservative”, he is a “Liberal Republican” and there is a gigantic difference. Beyond that, he is an Empty Suit doing whatever others tell him to.

        SmokeVanThorn in reply to CenterRightMargin. | January 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        So that explains why I keep hearing Mitt say, “Look, RomneyCare was a bad idea and is a bad program. But the alternative was going to be so much worse that I felt I had no choice but to limit the damage. I certainly don’t think that a program like RomneyCare is something that the federal government or any state ought to implement.”

        Oh, wait…

      Darkstar58 in reply to Midwest Rhino. | January 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      With regard to Mitt and the Gay Marriage thing;

      Romney flat out lied – he unilaterally implemented Gay Marriage.

      Marriage in MA is solely the responsibility of the Legislature.

      Steve Baldwin, a Senior Fellow with the Inter-American Institute: “All Romney had to do was to declare the court had no authority to enforce its unconstitutional opinion and ignore its decision. But instead of doing that, Romney abruptly claimed the court opinion was now the law of the land and ordered his Town Clerks and Justices of the Peace to marry homosexuals — even though the legislature never acted to codify the ruling.”

      Even Democrats fought against allowing the Court Rulling to be consider Law – it undermined their power as defined in the state Constitution.

      I suggest people read it

      “What many may not realize is that, to this day, the Massachusetts legislature still has not acted on the court’s opinion. The only law Romney signed relating to same-sex marriage was legislation eliminating a required blood test for sexually transmitted diseases before couples could obtain a marriage license.”

      So sure, Romney is willing to lie and defy the Constitution to do whatever he wants; but he probably fought really hard for something that didn’t happen in his own damn Romneycare bill…

    More propaganda from Willard Central.

    Call your office. Your talking point are out of date!

    Confirmed: Romneycare = Obamacare

    It is time to unite as Christians and overthrow the GOP establishment and be as a city upon a hill, the GOP should be God’s party. Vote only for devout servants of Christ!!

    Don’t feel sorry for Mitt Romney having a Democratic legislature….they are great cover….

    “The signing ceremony was set for April 12, 2006, at Faneuil Hall.

    A day earlier, however, in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Romney declared he would take “corrective action’’ on the employer assessment, outraging many Democrats. Before the proceedings his office announced he was vetoing eight of the 147 sections, including the employer mandate.

    There was little risk to Romney, who knew the Democratic Legislature would easily override him, as it did three weeks later. He could claim a large share of credit for the new law while washing his hands of something resembling a tax, problematic with a national Republican audience.

    Like most of Romney’s momentous public events, the bill-signing extravaganza was a masterwork of political stagecraft in a setting that evokes many important events in the nation’s history.”

Move along, nothing to see here…

sincerely, the Establishment

As noted before…

this could come down to the same solution our ancestors applied to Prohibition.

A great big “SCREW THAT…” to the deal. Massive civil disobedience. Going Galt in place.

C’mon Supremes!

Strike the mandate down!

Windy City Commentary | January 31, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Where’s the big Drudge headline?

[…] of the audio content, I (a) favor Prof. Jacobson’s opinion by default, and (b) can’t figure out what the devil is going wrong with the conservative […]

It is my understanding that MA get about $300.000.000 from the feds to defray the cost of Romneycare. Without the rest of us paying into MA their health care scheme would go under. So is MA going to be exempt from Obamacare if it gets enacted? If so will the federal money dry up because that will have to used to pay for Obamacare and will MA have to have a huge tax increase to pay for their health care bill?

The argument will be that we can tweak Obamacare, saving the good and getting rid only of the bad.

And Pam Bondi, UF criminal justice major, former state law criminal prosecutor, and crony politician who apparently hasn’t read and doesn’t understand the current legislation, will do the tweaking.

“I’m confident we will hear during the general election, if Romney is the nominee, how Romneycare only can survive because of federal help and how that is a justification for a national, not state by state, version of Romneycare, namely, Obamacare.”

Not to mention the Dems will be saying how hypocritical Republicans are in nominating someone who believes his state’s similar plan is wonderful.

The argument will be that Republicans willfully tried to blind the American public to the good things Obamacare will bring them. And that the Republicans did this only for political gain since their nominee not only adopted the pilot plan but still says it is a great plan and trumpets how the people of Massachusetts love it.

The average voter is really going to see a huge *values* difference between saying that what is good for a state to do is not good for the nation to do?

BannedbytheGuardian | January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

CentreRightMargin .

Why does that nom sound like something a committee would make up? LAME.

I am not sure what the free rider problem people are talking about is. If you have a job and can pay, you will have to pay your medical bills as the hospital can force you to pay through collections and court proceedings like any other person can.

If you cannot pay for the medical services, the government or some other entity pays. Thats unchanged and unchangeable. You can’t get blood out of a stone. Its unlikely someone that can’t afford medical services at the hospital can afford real insurance. In areas like NY you can expect to pay $1700 / month to pay for decent medical plan. Perhaps the bigger problem is that the hospitals try to collect on ridiculously inflated bills. About 6 years ago I had an appendicitis and was admitted to an ER. I was forced to sit there in throbbing pain for 2 hours while they let homeless bums off the streets in for free food and a place to sleep. After the surgery and ordeal they sent me a break down of the bill. It detailed they would have charged a regular working guy almost $20,000 for about 17 hours of being in the hospital on a routine procedure with general anesthetic. The charges for my care after the “pre-negotiationed rates” were about $1800, $1200 which were my deductibles. I mean what kind of system can you allow one customer be charged over 10x what the other patient is charged is beyond me.

It occurs to me that the whole scheme is really to come up with a new tax on young people to transfer to older people who are in poorer health. If you look at the legal schemes over of the past century, they have all been regressive taxes on the young, some direct, others indirect. SS, Medicare, Federal regulation of Healthcare Industry, taking away of the ability of young people to declare bankruptcy. This is an actual transfer of money from the poor to the rich because the young are almost uniformly poor while the old on average sit on assets like paid off homes and retirement accounts.

Its even worse if your a young man as they are always scheming to turn them into someone else’s donkey to lighten their load. Progressives by any rational analysis of their actual policies are actually for transferring as much money from the poor to the rich as much as they can, while conservatives are for letting the poor keep their money and making the rich pay their fair share for goods and services.

If you are really interested in ending the “free rider problem” allow hospitals to refuse services. And on the other hand, lets open up the medical services industry and get rid of licensing to drive down the costs. Nah thats too simple and obvious.

BTW, I don’t like this whole government insures payment for services thing they have going on. If one of my clients fails to pay for services rendered, the government does not cut me a check to make up for it. I see no reason to have government guarantee of payments that inevitably encourages over servicing clients who can’t/won’t pay.

I am sick and tired of being taken for a ride by these crooks that pull at your heart strings saying “If you love you’ll give me money”. Society shield encourage productivity and self reliance, not bottom feeding leeches.

Yeah, leeches are blood suckers. Like a vampire only uglier and slimier. Leeches are hermaphrodites, no really they are.Techniques to remove a leech are to apply a flame, burning at the stake is reccomended. Other ways to remove a leech are to apply a job.

Learn to love Romneycare ….. NEVER !!!

Translates as ‘Grab ank America’

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | January 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm

In the American Spectator is an article called- “Romney explains why he can’t beat Obama”, by David Catron, 30 Jan. 2012.

Remember the last debate where Rick Santorum shredded Romney and his Romneycare to pieces, where Romney’s only defense of Romneycare was, quote- “it’s not worth getting angry about.”

It is worth getting angry about, as Rick Santorum said- We must not give this issue away to Obama.. as it is not just about the Nominee, but about Freedom and Liberty of the American people, which are affected by the decisions that these elected representatives, reflect and act in accordance with the wishes of the “Will of the Majority” of the American People, and not to their own ideological self-serving interests.

Quote- “Newt SuperPac Advisor Claims Romney Campaign Pumped $15 Mil Into Florida”-
The message is loud and clear.. Romney and his GOP establishment and corporate banking and investment firm Goldman Sachs backers are saying- “We can buy this Primary election and the US Presidency, and that’s exactly what we are doing”..

If Romney were to be the Nominee, he, as well as Obama, would be laughing so hard inside themselves, as to the ridiculously absurd amount of ease it is to fool these American voting people with their lies and incessant flip-flopping stands on vitally important issues, that to them matters not.

This is the tragedy of what might happen, if Romney and the GOP RINO establishment, is allowed to buy this election. What this says is that powerful people and their establishment money, can buy the votes and minds of the American people, instead of facts and truth.

With the National polls showing Newt with 4-8 point lead over Romney. I just hope the the rest of the Primary States tells Florida to go screw itself, and they are not going to shove Romney and his Romneycare down our throats, like the Obama abd the Democrats did with Obamacare.