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Fred Thompson: Romneycare At A Glance
Upper Cumberland Daily News ^ | 120607

Posted on 01/06/2008 2:30:43 PM PST by Fred

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To: judsonlegacy

As much as possible. Saving a decent amount each month should take priority over cable television, high speed internets, cell phone plans, other luxuries.


151 posted on 01/06/2008 4:19:21 PM PST by Bull Market (Thompson/Paul 08 - Republicans, Libertarians, Independents MUST join forces to defeat Hitlery)
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To: Radix
In all fairness, Mitt's veto was proven useless here. Should he have vetoed on principle? Perhaps. It would not have made a difference.

****************

I was willing to cut Romney a lot of slack when he was here, but I disagree with the above. Yes, he should have vetoed on principle. However, his plans for a future run for the presidency precluded that.

152 posted on 01/06/2008 4:19:36 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Radix
Should he have vetoed on principle? Perhaps.

Of course he should. What he DID was go along with a bloodthirsty court order, like a Good German.

153 posted on 01/06/2008 4:20:57 PM PST by Petronski (Willard Myth Romney: 51% negatives)
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To: big'ol_freeper

What’s really sad is one said “for the children” sheesh. My wife is a C-5 quad and went way over six months without a doctor while Taxquist and our U.S. Senators fiddled. No doctor would take her because to take her as a Tenncare and Medicare patient it meant almost no payment nor could they bill us the difference. This was under Republicans not DEMs but the DEMs started it and the GOP decided it was time for them to get their cut of the Big HMO donor dollars too.


154 posted on 01/06/2008 4:21:06 PM PST by cva66snipe (Proud Partisan Constitution Supporting Conservative to which I make no apologies for nor back down)
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To: byteback; big'ol_freeper

I want Fred as the GOP nominee, Hunter as his running mate. However, I will vote for any GOP nominee (Except Ron Paul) over any Democratic nominee, but Mitt is not what I consider a good candidate for the long run. He has too many liberal traits for the hardcore Conservatives and Religious Right, but if he heads the GOP ticket, he has my vote.


155 posted on 01/06/2008 4:22:00 PM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Nice teeth too! ;0)


156 posted on 01/06/2008 4:22:07 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: cva66snipe

Last time I checked, when TennCare was enacted in the first place, it was done under McWherter (a rodent), with Sasser and Gore/Mathews (more rodents) in federal office. You need to blame Scumquist for not doing the program to YOUR liking. Fred alone could not have just done what you’re suggesting and have expected to have gotten ANYTHING accomplished other than mass-scale public attacks and a swift defeat.

As for my excusing Scumquist if HE were running for President (whom was just as horrible a RINO Governor as Huckster and Joe Isuzu Romney), you are sadly mistaken. I was proud to have voted for his opponent in the 1998 election (both primary AND general). I wouldn’t have voted for him for dogcatcher.


157 posted on 01/06/2008 4:23:40 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: Bobkk47
50 years ago before government got involved, most people were uninsured and health care costs were more reasonable. The reason California has such a problem with their medical health care system, is because the liberals have pushed for more and more government intervention into health care services. Btw, private health care insurance has always had the cost for the uninsured factored into its rate structure and built into its premium charges.

Get government out of the health care business and allow the free market to follow its course. There is no constitutional right to free or subsidized health care. If there was such a right, we wouldn’t be a Republic. We’d be a socialist state.

158 posted on 01/06/2008 4:23:41 PM PST by Reagan Man (FUHGETTABOUTIT Rudy....... Conservatives don't vote for liberals!)
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To: mylife

Huck wants to fix that.


159 posted on 01/06/2008 4:24:26 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
in how his campaign put out those false stories that Fred was going to drop out after Iowa?Nice try. You may have the fingerprints, but without DNA and eye witness testimony from six Romneyites, it doesn't count. We know who Mutt is; and we know WHAT Mutt is: A mangy cur, masquerading as a champion show dog.
160 posted on 01/06/2008 4:24:40 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (If God didn't want a Liberal/RINO hanging from every tree, He wouldn't have created so much rope!)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Snort!


161 posted on 01/06/2008 4:27:07 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Bobkk47
So in your world, any slug who refuses to get insurance and then has say, a heart attack, will go the emergency ward and get the treatment becuase he cannot be denied under the law. And guess who's going to pay for that treatment. You and your fellow taxpayers.

If someone working full time at minimum wage doesn't have health insurance, did they "refuse" to get it?
162 posted on 01/06/2008 4:28:04 PM PST by judsonlegacy
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To: claudiustg; TheLion
Because that was mandated by the court and not subject to negotiation. [claudiustg]

The $50 abortions were thrown in by a judge. Romney had nothing to do with it. [thelion]

Oh, sure, TheLion. (That's why Romney is in the center of the picture signing this legislature in post #15...'cause claudiustg maintains that the Romney in RomneyCare was just an appendage to a judge & because TheLion claims that Romney was totally irrelevant to this)

How about some consistency on this issue? If Romney can't be held accountable for abortion subsidies in '06 in MA, then if Hillary was elected & got HillaryCare passed thru Congress, then by the same logic, HillaryCare 2.0 wouldn't be able to be blamed for abortion subsidies in '10.

Just because Hillary 1.0 had some governmental buffer to be stuck with the long-term blame of its many shortcomings had it gone through, had it been implemented in '94 (& abortion was part of that proposed coverage as well) ya better believe Hillary (& not UncleSam & not some judge) would have gotten the initial "glory" for it passing. [I think we all concede that "glory" would have quickly faded into increased woe & lament]

163 posted on 01/06/2008 4:30:30 PM PST by Colofornian
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To: Petronski
The larger problem with Mitt is the matter of a health care mandate in the first place.

I think that many have gotten way into the nitty gritty of the details.

By inference, you are actually supporting the notion that the legislation was proper in the first place.

It appears from here that people are dead set on bashing Mitt so much that there is no real honest objective perspective is being displayed.

164 posted on 01/06/2008 4:31:12 PM PST by Radix (If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.)
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To: ApplegateRanch
Romney Administration slogan: Legalism and Lawyers over Leadership.

U.S. Army Retired


165 posted on 01/06/2008 4:31:31 PM PST by big'ol_freeper (ROMNEY: "I LOVE MANDATES.")
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To: ApplegateRanch
Still does not change the fact that Mitt is a LIBERAL.
Most here believe that lie came from Mitt's campaign.
166 posted on 01/06/2008 4:32:32 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: claudiustg

It is precisely when government got involved in health care that it became so expensive, that and our litigious society.


167 posted on 01/06/2008 4:33:05 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: Colofornian
Thanks for the research.

One possible out would be that he could only go so far, and no further, or his veto would have been overridden.

Another possible out is that he has, as he has claimed, changed his thinking on abortion. However, April of 2006 is less than two years ago. It is easier for me to buy a change in a decade than in one or two years.

It does seem that he has changed his position based upon the politics. This is not entirely unheard of in a politician. Will he do it again?

168 posted on 01/06/2008 4:34:45 PM PST by ChessExpert (Reagan dismantled the Russian empire of 21 conquered nations)
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To: Radix
It appears from here that people are dead set on bashing Mitt so much that there is no real honest objective perspective is being displayed.

A subjective liar?

That's Mitt, not his critics.

169 posted on 01/06/2008 4:35:29 PM PST by Petronski (Willard Myth Romney: 51% negatives)
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To: Bull Market
As much as possible. Saving a decent amount each month should take priority over cable television, high speed internets, cell phone plans, other luxuries. I didn't have - and don't have now - cable telecision, high speed internet, ce;; [pjopne, etc.
170 posted on 01/06/2008 4:35:33 PM PST by judsonlegacy
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To: TheLion

Sounds relevant to me.


171 posted on 01/06/2008 4:36:37 PM PST by ChessExpert (Reagan dismantled the Russian empire of 21 conquered nations)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
But, his supporters will say " stop attacking Mitt, he's so accomplished with great hair, he so conservative .. " BS. Mitt can't be trusted.

He can be trusted to raise taxes on businesses, increase gun ownership fees and support an assault weapons ban. Oh, and don't forget RU-486. The list goes on for anyone willing to dig into his record...

172 posted on 01/06/2008 4:37:18 PM PST by grimalkin (~~www.fred08.com~~)
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To: byteback

phony story?

Let’s see, the link goes to UC News and it’s a article on what FDT says about Romney Care.

What was your point again?


173 posted on 01/06/2008 4:38:49 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: claudiustg

Ummmmmmmm not just No, but H3LL NO!


174 posted on 01/06/2008 4:38:53 PM PST by gidget7 ( Vote for the Arsenal of Democracy, because America RUNS on Duncan!)
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To: claudiustg
This is a big issue that can’t be wished away. I have medical and dental care through where I work. It still cost an arm and a leg. :^) Many are not so fortunate, and it’s not just their misfortune. It’s ours. We pay higher premiums because so many are not covered. Then we pay higher taxes to pay for their care.

And how would universal healthcare change that? What do you want the government to do about it. What's your plan?

175 posted on 01/06/2008 4:40:42 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul. WWPD (what would Patton do))
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To: fieldmarshaldj
Fred alone could not have just done what you’re suggesting and have expected to have gotten ANYTHING accomplished other than mass-scale public attacks and a swift defeat.

Horse Hillary! What do you call angry citizens shutting down downtown Nashville and state offices then? He would have had majority support but he didn't have the stomach for confrontation which seems to be an ongoing issue with him. His chance was then. Everyone knew Tenncare was the reason. Where was Fred? Calling on Fred was as useless as calling on John Wilder.

For the record to my liking of Tenncare would be shutting it down and the far more limited but directly accountable to the people Medicaid program restored under original mission scope. I worked under both systems and know when the state surveyors investigated that answers were forthcoming. I know the Tenncare system also. Zero accountability of taxpayer dollar and zero representation in Nashville or DC as well. There is no representation with Tennscare. With it being both state and federal funded it goes against the very foundations of both state and federal Constitution. Go ahead. Call your state lawmaker about Tenncare and see for yourself. It's a Ponzy Scheme. If taxpayer dollars are being spent on a state and or federal program then our elected should be accessible and responsible for addressing grievances and accountable for such spending.

176 posted on 01/06/2008 4:41:24 PM PST by cva66snipe (Proud Partisan Constitution Supporting Conservative to which I make no apologies for nor back down)
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To: Bobkk47
post to 110

The gov vetoes the bill then and only then he waits for the court order. That is what a REAL prolife governor would do.
177 posted on 01/06/2008 4:42:11 PM PST by Fred (McCain..'HIS EGO IS WRITING CHECKS HIS BODY CAN'T CASH')
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To: Petronski
The acrimony toward Mitt that has been displayed here on FR.com over the last year has certainly intensified during the past couple of weeks.

That is OK with me. Reasonable people will sometimes display acrimony.

Debating the intricacies of a health care plan mandated by Government suggests that there is probably a GOOD health care plan mandated by Government.

IMO, there is not.

These threads are not about health care plan intricacies. They are simply about finding new and innovative ways for slamming a candidate that one does not approve of.

It is shameful that FR.com is being reduced to a never ending onslaught of ad hominem attacks on a particular REPUBLICAN candidate.

It is just not something that I ever thought I’d see on Free Republic.

178 posted on 01/06/2008 4:44:05 PM PST by Radix (If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.)
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To: Calpernia

5 drinks in one occasion is considered binge drinking?? Hahahaha MADD must be behind that one.


179 posted on 01/06/2008 4:47:06 PM PST by gidget7 ( Vote for the Arsenal of Democracy, because America RUNS on Duncan!)
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To: Fred

What happens when there’s a line-item veto in Mass.? Doesn’t it have to go back to Congress to be passed again? If so, did Romney have any chance of getting it passed if he had taken the abortion part out of it?


180 posted on 01/06/2008 4:48:04 PM PST by kitkat
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To: cva66snipe

I live there, bud, have my entire life, I know what goes on here. Again, you have a very bizarre notion of how government works. Asking Fred to act like a dictator, ordering (!) the Governor to change TennCare to the specifications YOU want it to be ? Blame Scumquist for not doing anything about the problem and stop blaming peripheral figures who had no authority to change STATE policy.

As for your suggestion to call my “elected officials” (what a joke), I’ll let you know my Congressman is a moonbat more interested in campaigning for Obama, my State Senator is a Black leftist moonbat who pays no attention to Whitey in the suburbs and my State Rep. is a crooked bitch whom I surmised took payoffs for zoning changes while on the Metro Council. Think they’re interested in doing the right thing ?

BTW, are you still supporting that traitorous asshat Williams in East TN that wants to put the 90-year old incompetent Wilder back in as Lt Governor and MY pig-ignorant State Senator into a Chairmanship ? You ain’t doing ME any favors, bud.


181 posted on 01/06/2008 4:56:39 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: Radix
The larger problem with Mitt is the matter of a health care mandate in the first place.

I agree. I share Fred Thompson's belief that REMOVING government regulations to increase competition for coverage is the best way to tackle rising health-care costs.
182 posted on 01/06/2008 4:57:28 PM PST by mmichaels1970
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Yikes....I thought we had it bad here in Ohio.


183 posted on 01/06/2008 5:01:04 PM PST by mmichaels1970
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To: fieldmarshaldj

My state senator is a HMO shill and supported the state income tax. He was also most of the time on the Tenncare committee the joke it was. Oh yea he’s a Wepublicant too. No U.S. senator from any party should allow federal dollars to be used on corrupt programs. If you blast Mathews and Sasser then you must as well blast Fred and Bill then. Post 157. I blast them all. So should you. Williams is not in my district but you wouldn’t know an asshat ifin it bit ya. Williams if he runs will likely be re-elected. That’s up to Claiborne,Union, and part of Grainger County I think. I’ll gladly swap Williams for my current state GOP senator though.


184 posted on 01/06/2008 5:06:30 PM PST by cva66snipe (Proud Partisan Constitution Supporting Conservative to which I make no apologies for nor back down)
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To: Fred

Fred Thompson supports abortions for women who have been raped.

Does Fred Thompson think that their health insurance shouldn’t COVER the abortions he wants them to be legally allowed to get?


185 posted on 01/06/2008 5:08:23 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Radix

You’re right, it’s the mandate, period.


186 posted on 01/06/2008 5:09:40 PM PST by gidget7 ( Vote for the Arsenal of Democracy, because America RUNS on Duncan!)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
Let's try it again, this time with "Preview" working.

(Ahem!)

in how his campaign put out those false stories that Fred was going to drop out after Iowa?

Nice try.

You may have the fingerprints, but without DNA and eye witness testimony from six Romneyites, it doesn't count. /sarc>

We know who Mutt is; and we know WHAT Mutt is: A mangy cur, masquerading as a champion show dog.

Still does not change the fact that Mitt is a LIBERAL.

Mutt, as a mainstream Liberal, is what Massholes like Teddy, Daily Kos, and DU call "Right Wing Extremist".

187 posted on 01/06/2008 5:16:16 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (God wants a Liberal or RINO hanging from every tree, Tar & feathers optional extras.)
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To: cva66snipe

I know an asshat, and sleazy Mike Williams is the epitome of that. That scumbag Judas prima donna knifed our party in the back and is no Conservative and it is the #1 priority of this year’s election season at the state level to send his ass home where rodent scum like him belong. He wants to keep or put my crooked Reps in absolute control of the legislature. To that, I say hell f’n NO !


188 posted on 01/06/2008 5:31:07 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: Fred
Anyone who is in bed with Planned Parenthood is in bed with the Devil.

Case closed.

189 posted on 01/06/2008 5:32:08 PM PST by pray4liberty (Watch and pray.)
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To: claudiustg

Romney is a lier and flipflop


190 posted on 01/06/2008 5:40:42 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: big'ol_freeper
Bravo !! Bravo !! that's telling that Liberal like it is.
These liberals are coming out of the woodwork here on FR.
191 posted on 01/06/2008 5:43:30 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

You are so much a party shill you can not understand anything but party first. Like I said I’d swap Williams for McNally any time.


192 posted on 01/06/2008 5:50:27 PM PST by cva66snipe (Proud Partisan Constitution Supporting Conservative to which I make no apologies for nor back down)
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To: claudiustg
Because that was mandated by the court and not subject to negotiation.

No cite, naturally.

193 posted on 01/06/2008 5:52:46 PM PST by Mojave
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To: cva66snipe

No, bud. I’m a Conservative. Williams is treacherous liberal rodent scum helping the crooked left to regain absolute power in our state. He wants to empower my loony leftist rodent Senator back to a Chairmanship. I want him the hell out of office and replaced by a Conservative Republican, period.


194 posted on 01/06/2008 5:56:10 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: Radix
The reason Mitt is being questioned and suspect is that he is a Liberal.
Mitt supporters are delusional to think that he is conservative, and since FreeRepublic is a conservative form, Mitt deserves any criticism that he gets.
How dare liberals come here on FR and take over the discussions and think that they own FR and spew their liberal ideas and promote their liberal candidates, if you want your candidate to get good press, then go to the DNC or the Democrat party, not here.
195 posted on 01/06/2008 5:59:34 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: cva66snipe
" You are so much a party shill you can not understand anything but party first"

Your right, a shill for CONSERVATISM .... Liberals/Rinos need not apply.
196 posted on 01/06/2008 6:03:28 PM PST by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM .53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart, there is no GOD.)
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To: snippy_about_it

-—What do you want the government to do about it. What’s your plan?-—

I’m awfully glad you asked. A good starting point would be some thing like this article from the Heritage Foundation outlines about the Romney plan in Massachusetts.

April 11, 2006
The Significance of Massachusetts Health Reform
by Edmund F. Haislmaier
WebMemo #1035
Last week the Massachusetts legislature passed comprehensive health care reform legislation almost a year after Governor Romney first proposed the key elements of a reform strategy. News reports and most commentary have focused on two small but controversial provisions in the final bill: requirements that Massachusetts residents purchase health insurance and that businesses with more than 10 workers who don’t offer their employees health insurance pay a per-worker contribution to the state’s uncompensated care pool. But in focusing on those items, most reporters and commentators have missed the truly significant and transformative health system changes that the legislation would set in motion.

The Reality
Some commentators, by getting wrong even the most basic facts of what the legislation actually does, have offered wildly inaccurate interpretations of the bill and its likely effects.[1]

In reality, the legislation is designed to restructure and (partially) deregulate Massachusetts’s small-group and non-group health insurance markets and to convert subsidies now paid to hospitals for treating the uninsured into subsidies for the low-income uninsured to buy health insurance. The objectives are expanded coverage, greater consumer choice and satisfaction, value-focused competition among insurers and providers, and ultimately a reduced burden on the state’s taxpayers. The key to the Massachusetts plan is a new way of organizing the marketplace to enable consumers to compare and purchase health insurance plans.

The first major element of the Massachusetts legislation is the creation of a new, statewide health insurance ‘Connector.’ The Connector will be a private (state-government chartered) marketplace where individuals and workers in businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be able to purchase personal, portable health insurance coverage.

This concept of organizing a state’s insurance markets around a central clearinghouse represents a dramatic departure from recent state health insurance reform proposals. States have spent the past 15 years trying to expand health care coverage to small-business employees, with virtually no positive results. The Massachusetts legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to move away from the policies that have largely failed to make progress in covering the uninsured for the past 15 years.

Abandoning Henry Ford’s Market
Over the past 70 years, a combination of industry practices and federal and state regulations have produced a fragmented, balkanized health-insurance market, one with different regulations and practices in the large-group, small-group, and non-group submarkets. Over time, coverage has declined steadily, particularly in the small-group and non-group markets.

In response, a number of states tried to reverse that trend by standardizing health insurance coverage and benefits. For example, Massachusetts reduced coverage offerings in its non-group market down to just two standard products, while allowing somewhat more product variation in its small group market. Maryland did the opposite, allowing different products to be sold in the individual market but establishing a uniform set of minimum benefits, deductibles, and co-pays for all plans sold in its small-group market. Other states have enacted similar schemes.

Essentially, state health insurance reform since the early 1990s has been an exercise in governors and legislators repeatedly trying to design a perfect, one-size-fits-all health insurance benefit package for one or more targeted sub-populations in their state. The most recent examples are the “Healthy New York” plan and Maine’s “Dirigo” health plan.

In practice, these approaches all ended up looking a lot like Henry Ford’s auto market. Only one or two car models (all painted black) are available, but they can be purchased from many independent dealers.

The CarMax Approach
The significance of the Massachusetts legislation is that Gov. Romney proposed inverting the previous model for health insurance reform—and got his state’s legislature to agree. Massachusetts is now committed to restructuring its health insurance system in a way that looks a lot like CarMax’s auto market: there are many different kinds of cars to choose from, all obtainable through one giant dealership. That dealership is the new Massachusetts health insurance Connector.

The basic insight behind a state-sponsored health-insurance clearinghouse or exchange (like the Connector) is that markets sometimes work more efficiently and effectively when there is a single place to facilitate diverse economic activity. Like a stock exchange, the health insurance Connector in the Massachusetts legislation will be a clearinghouse to match buyers and sellers efficiently and to facilitate the collection and transmission of payments, often from multiple sources.

The Connector will neither design the insurance products being offered nor regulate the insurers offering the plans. Insurers will continue to be regulated by the state’s Division of Insurance and will be free to design and price the plans they offer through the Connector, subject to the provisions of Massachusetts’s existing insurance laws.

While simple in concept, the Connector brings with it a complete reorientation of the state’s regulation of health insurance. It shifts the focus from designing insurance products to designing the framework within which new products can emerge and compete for customers. Under this framework, the new market will also be one that seeks to meet the needs of patients and consumers, rather than employers.

How it Works
The Connector is designed to work around the limitations of current federal law to achieve, within a state, consumer choice of plans and true coverage portability while also retaining the consumers’ ability to benefit from long-standing federal tax-breaks for employer-group health insurance.

Any Massachusetts business with 50 or fewer workers will be able to designate the Connector as its group health insurance plan. After that, each of its workers will be able to choose the health plan that best suits him or her from among those offered by the Connector. Workers will be able to switch plans during an annual open season and will be able to take their coverage with them as they move from job to job. Furthermore, the Connector is designed to ensure that all premium payments made by both employers and workers will be on a pre-tax basis.

This design offers many benefits. For example, a two-income couple will be able to combine contributions from their employers to buy and keep the plan they want, instead of being forced to choose one employer’s plan while forgoing the subsidy offered by the others’ employer. Similarly, a worker with two part-time jobs will be able to combine both employers’ contributions to purchase coverage. And with the Connector in place, the state government will have a single place to send premium subsidies for those who need extra assistance to buy coverage.

Finally, any Massachusetts resident will be able to buy coverage directly through the Connector as an individual. The only disadvantage is that the federal tax-breaks for individually purchased health insurance are not as large as those for employer-group coverage. Still, those who do purchase coverage through the Connector as individuals, such as the self-employed, will gain the right to switch coverage during the annual open season without new underwriting—just like those who work for large employers.

Some Deregulation
As part of the overall package, Governor Romney was able to get the legislature to agree to some deregulation of health insurance. For example, the legislation allows managed care organizations to offer Health Savings Account (HSA) plans, which only traditional insurers can currently offer in Massachusetts. It also allows the use of coinsurance in managed care plans as a way for those plans to help steer patients to providers offering better value. These are important changes for a state whose health care market is dominated by managed care insurance plans and prestigious medical providers with strong brand identities.

In addition, by allowing any resident to buy coverage through the Connector, the bill effectively circumvents much of the standardization of coverage in the Massachusetts non-group insurance market. As well, the legislation will allow carriers to offer less expensive insurance plans, with fewer mandated benefits, to young adults between 19 and 26 who do not have access to employer-group coverage.

Overall, the bill does not go far enough in deregulating insurance. For example, the legislation leaves untouched the state’s modified community-rating system. Other states following the same model of reform would likely have greater success in deregulation.

Subsidizing People, Not Providers
The second major element of the Massachusetts legislation builds on the Connector concept to reform the state’s current system for subsidizing uncompensated care costs. The Romney administration seized the opportunity presented by the impending expiration of the state’s Medicaid waiver to tackle covering uninsured individuals who are ineligible for Medicaid. That waiver currently pumps $385 million a year in federal Medicaid money into the state’s $1 billion per year uncompensated care pool, which in turn pays it out to health systems that treat the uninsured. Federal Medicaid officials told Massachusetts that they would not approve a waiver extension absent a state plan to achieve better results with the money.

Romney’s solution was to convert what is really a safety net for hospitals into premium assistance for the low-income (but not Medicaid-eligible) uninsured. Having a one-stop-shop in the form of the new Connector in place makes for an administratively simpler and cheaper way to match people, plans, and payments. The legislation gives the health systems currently receiving funding from the state’s uncompensated care pool two years to enroll the uninsured patients they serve into their own health insurance plans, with the funding they now receive converted into premium subsidies. At the end of the two-year period, those individuals could use the Connector to choose a different health plan. At that point, health insurers and providers will have to compete for that money by offering good value health coverage and services.

Employer Mandate
It was in connection with the proposed reform of Massachusetts uncompensated care pool that the biggest sticking point arose in the progress of the legislation. For almost four months, the legislation stalled in conference committee, largely over a “play-or-pay” employer-mandate provision added to the House version whereby a payroll tax would have been imposed on employers that do not provide their workers with insurance. The impasse was finally resolved by an agreement to replace that provision with an expansion of the existing employer contribution to the Massachusetts uncompensated care pool to include employers that do not offer health insurance.

Part of the funding for Massachusetts’s uncompensated care pool comes from a long-standing surcharge on private insurance plans, but it is effectively paid by businesses and workers that do buy coverage. In the past, that surcharge has averaged about $62 per worker, per year. The final version of the legislation would impose an equivalent assessment on businesses with more than 10 employees that do not offer health insurance coverage. The amount of that assessment would be based on an annual calculation of the amount of uncompensated care used by workers employed in firms that don’t offer health insurance, up to a statutory maximum of $295 per worker.

Because the legislation is designed to significantly reduce uncompensated care in the state, any assessments are likely to be much less than the statutory maximum. As well, with the Connector in place, employers that are not currently offering coverage can easily avoid the new assessment by signing up to offer coverage to their workers through the Connector. Thus, the provision is likely to have a negligible, or even no, effect.

However, despite its practical irrelevance, the issue carries considerable political symbolism: Does the new assessment constitutes a ‘tax’ or a ‘fee,’ and should businesses be required to pay for their worker’s health insurance? Governor Romney will likely use his line-item veto authority to excise that provision from the bill. Should he do so, the Massachusetts legislature may try to reinstate it. Regardless, the practical effect of the provision, if enacted, will be negligible.

Personal Responsibility
Finally, the element of the Massachusetts bill that has attracted the most attention and dispute is the “personal responsibility” provision, also known as the “individual mandate.”

From the outset, Governor Romney stated that requiring individuals to buy health insurance in the currently fragmented and overly expensive insurance market would be wrong and counterproductive. But he also argued that if the market could be reorganized to make coverage universally available and portable, deregulated at least enough to make it affordable for the middle class, and subsidized enough to make it affordable for the low-income, then there would be no reasonable excuse for anyone to forgo health insurance.

Romney also pointed out that to allow people to go without health insurance when they can expect someone else to pay the tab for their treatment is a de facto mandate on providers and taxpayers. Romney’s plan was to take that option off the table, leaving only two choices: either buy insurance or pay for your own care. He proposed that those who want to go without coverage could place $10,000 in an interest-bearing escrow account, which providers could claim against if the individual did not pay medical bills.

Unfortunately, the state legislature changed that idea into a mandate: either buy coverage or pay a fine. This provision is more onerous and philosophically objectionable, but it is unlikely to prove onerous in practice. That is because the legislation includes three avenues through which Massachusetts residents can meet the individual coverage requirement by purchasing an inexpensive health plan. First, the bill allows more carriers to offer HSA products with high-deductibles. Second, it also circumvents Massachusetts’ overly regulated non-group market by allowing any resident to buy coverage as an individual through the Connector, where a wide choice of plans and premiums will be available. And third, it allows insurers to offer inexpensive “mandate-light” policies to young adults between the ages of 19 and 26, those most likely to go without coverage.

Looking Ahead
Politics is the art of the possible, and Governor Romney had to temper his ambitions and make compromises to get his plan through the state’s legislature. At the same time, many Democrats in the legislature set aside their misgivings about some of the elements of the Governor’s proposal, such as its steps toward deregulating insurance, out of a desire not to lose a big piece of Massachusetts’s federal Medicaid funding. With time and experience, revisions can and should be made to this initial legislation.

But that should not overshadow the significance of Massachusetts’ achievement in enacting a bipartisan health care reform bill that fundamentally shifts the state’s health care system in the direction of greater patient and consumer empowerment and control. The Governor and legislature have provided their citizens with the tools to achieve what the public really wants: a health system with all the familiar comforts of existing employer group coverage but with the added benefits of portability, choice, and control.

Other governors and legislators would be well advised to consider this basic model as a framework for health care reform in their own states.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm1035.cfm


197 posted on 01/06/2008 6:14:43 PM PST by claudiustg (You know it. I know it. I'm optiMITTstic!)
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To: fieldmarshaldj
No, bud. I’m a Conservative. Williams is treacherous liberal rodent scum helping the crooked left to regain absolute power in our state. He wants to empower my loony leftist rodent Senator back to a Chairmanship. I want him the hell out of office and replaced by a Conservative Republican, period.

You need to worry more about getting Wilder out of office period than Mike Willams. You don't want him replaced with a conservative you want a Republican. If Willaims is a big screw up in his home district news will travel fast and he'll be out. If he's taking care of business at home then he's safe. Looking at his bio and community involvement I'd say quite a few persons know him more than as their senator.

198 posted on 01/06/2008 6:22:01 PM PST by cva66snipe (Proud Partisan Constitution Supporting Conservative to which I make no apologies for nor back down)
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To: claudiustg
The first major element of the Massachusetts legislation is the creation of a new, statewide health insurance ‘Connector.’ The Connector will be a private (state-government chartered) marketplace

The clearest example of this is a "private," statewide "connector" through which individuals can purchase insurance. "Private" in this case means a single, state-chartered monopoly through which individuals must purchase their insurance.

Capitalism Magazine

Romney's talking points are as phoney as he is.

199 posted on 01/06/2008 6:26:15 PM PST by Mojave
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To: cva66snipe

If you’re backing Williams, you’re backing a liberal Democrat who wants to empower a party where almost HALF its Senate members have been either convicted, are on trial, or are about to be indicted. You seem to be the last person in TN who claims to be Conservative who doesn’t see how much of a Judas he is. You better get with the program.


200 posted on 01/06/2008 6:32:39 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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