Skip to comments.Confirmed: Romneycare = Obamacare
Posted on 05/04/2012 10:19:37 AM PDT by SoConPubbie
Jim Pethokoukis spotlights a new Health Affairs study on how Romneycare laid the foundation for Obamacare, and what it portends for the federal health insurance scene. In short: Expanded government coverage, higher taxpayer costs. Read here for details and analysis. His conclusion:
The authors conclude that based on the Romneycare experience, Obamacare will improve coverage and not kill employer-based insurance, but containing costs will be a considerable challenge. That is probably the avenue Romney should use to a) attack Obamacare and b) present his own national health reform. But this study will perpetuate the meme that Romneycare was the prototype for Obamacare. Santorum hammered Romney on this point at the last debate more effectively than any other candidate throughout this campaign season, probably because he understands the issue better than his rivals. Well see if he or Gingrich follows up tonight.
No surprises, of course. We already heard from Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber in October:
The Obama administration may have relied much more heavily on Romneys Massachusetts healthcare legislation as a blueprint for Obamacare than was previously believed.
White House visitor logs obtained by NBC News revealed that three of Romneys healthcare advisers had up to a dozen meetings with senior administration officials, including one in the Oval Office presided over by President Barack Obama.
They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model, MIT economist and Romney healthcare adviser Jon Gruber told NBC.
And back in September, I noted the analysis by Suffolk Universitys Beacon Hill Institute showing the depths of the economic damage that Romneycare did in the Bay State.
Romneys baggage. It is so heavy:
The Bay States controversial 2006 universal health-care plan also known as Romneycare has cost Massachusetts more than 18,000 jobs, according to an exclusive blockbuster study that could provide ammo to GOP rivals of former Gov. Mitt Romney as he touts his job-creating chops on the campaign trail.
Mandating health insurance coverage and expanding the demand for health services without increasing supply drove up costs. Economics 101 tells us that, said Paul Bachman, research director at Suffolk Universitys Beacon Hill Institute, the conservative think tank that conducted the study. The Herald obtained an exclusive copy of the findings.
The shared sacrifice needed to provide universal health care includes a net loss of jobs, which is attributable to the higher costs that the measure imposed, said David Tuerck, the institutes executive director.
Despite Romneys vaunted business acumen as a successful venture capitalist, Bachman said the former governor was a little naive about what would become of the law.
The Beacon Hill Institute study found that, on average, Romneycare:
cost the Bay State 18,313 jobs;
drove up total health insurance costs in Massachusetts by $4.311 billion;
slowed the growth of disposable income per person by $376; and
reduced investment in Massachusetts by $25.06 million.
And remember that RomneyCare relied on FedGovCare as a sturdy crutch: He also noted the states health-care costs have been heavily subsidized by billions of dollars in federal aid through a Medicaid waiver program.
The SEIU may be attacking Romney in Floridanow, but Big Labor radicals made out well under Romneycare.
I repeat: RomneyCare and ObamaCare share not only the same ideological architects, but similar waiver programs in part set up to benefit Big Labor via Boston Globe in February:
Massachusetts regulators granted more exemptions last year to residents who said they could not afford the health insurance required by the state, waiving the tax penalty for more than half of those who appealed, according to state data.
State officials said they excused the majority of waiver applicants in large part because of the protracted sour economy, which made insurance unaffordable for more people. Under the 2006 state law that requires most residents to have coverage, regulators have significant latitude to authorize waivers by taking into account factors such as a home foreclosure.
The number of people seeking exemptions in 2010 was about the same as in 2009, and state figures show that roughly 98 percent of residents were insured last year.
Even as Republicans and many states wage a bitter battle in Congress and the courts to block the mandatory insurance requirement in the national health care law, the provision appears to retain broad acceptance in Massachusetts.
Regulators flexibility may be part of the reason.
We arent going to make someone pay just to make them pay, said Celia Wcislo, a director of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and a member of the Connector Authority, which oversees Massachusetts health care law and grants the exemptions.
Refresher on the politicized Connector Authority via Cato:
When Romney signed his plan he claimed a key objective is to lower the cost of health insurance for all our citizens and allow our citizens to buy the insurance plan that fits their needs. In actuality, insurance premiums in the state are expected to rise 1012 percent next year, double the national average.
Although there are undoubtedly many factors behind the cost increase, one reason is that the new bureaucracy that the legislation created-the Connector-has not been allowing Massachusetts citizens to buy insurance that fits their needs.
Although it has received less media attention than other aspects of the bill, one of the most significant features of the legislation is the creation of the Massachusetts Health Care Connector to combine the current small-group and individual markets under a single unified set of regulations. Supporters such as Robert E. Moffit and Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation consider the Connector to be the single most important change made by the legislation, calling it the cornerstone of the new plan and a major innovation and a model for other states.
The Connector is not actually an insurer. Rather, it is designed to allow individuals and workers in small companies to take advantage of the economies of scale, both in terms of administration and risk pooling, which are currently enjoyed by large employers. Multiple employers are able to pay into the Connector on behalf of a single employee. And, most importantly, the Connector would allow workers to use pretax dollars to purchase individual insurance. That would make insurance personal and portable, rather than tied to an employer-all very desirable things.
However, many people were concerned that the Connector was being granted too much regulatory authority. It was given the power to decide what products it would offer and to designate which types of insurance offered high quality and good value. This phrase in particular worried many observers because it is the same language frequently included in legislation mandating insurance benefits.
At the time the legislation passed, Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation reassured critics that the Connector will neither design the insurance products being offered nor regulate the insurers offering the plans. In reality, however, the Connectors board has seen itself as a combination of the state legislature and the insurance commissioner, adding a host of new regulations and mandates.
For example, the Connectors governing board has decreed that by January 2009, no one in the state will be allowed to have insurance with more than a $2,000 deductible or total out-of-pocket costs of more than $5,000. In addition, every policy in the state will be required to phase in coverage of prescription drugs, a move that could add 515 percent to the cost of insurance plans. A move to require dental coverage barely failed to pass the board, and the dentists-along with several other provider groups-have not given up the effort to force their inclusion. This comes on top of the 40 mandated benefits that the state had previously required, ranging from in vitro fertilization to chiropractic services.
Thus, it appears that the Connector offers quite a bit of pain for relatively little gain. Although the ability to use pretax dollars to purchase personal and portable insurance should be appealing in theory, only about 7,500 nonsubsidized workers have purchased insurance through the Connector so far. On the other hand, rather than insurance that fits their needs, Massachusetts residents find themselves forced to buy expensive Cadillac policies that offer many benefits that they may not want.
Governor Romney now says that he cannot be held responsible for the actions of the Connector board, because its an independent body separate from the governors office. However, many critics of the Massachusetts plan warned him precisely against the dangers of giving regulatory authority to a bureaucracy that would last long beyond his administration.
Industrial-strength nose plugs cant cover the stench.
Most of his crap we know but what are we going to do. The freeloaders and communists have done their job and Romney will be the nominee. Now what. King Obama for another 4 or Romney? Our only real savior was Newt and good by to that. America is finished.
Romney got the nomination so it's another 4 years (or more) of 0bama.
More of this statement type to come soon.
It sure is a Banana Republic. However, since they have stacked the deck you can sit it out or vote 3rd party thus allowing Big Ears 4 more yrs to drop us into a full on depression. I sure know what I will do.
DIDN’T Mitt promise time and time again to drive a stake into Obamacare the first day he’s walks into the Oval Office? What part of this pledge do you folks NOT get?...one thing for sure if Obama wins there will be no such stake driven....Annie Coulter backs him and has warned him not to dissappoint her....
Which situation are you going to put your money on? The answer seems clear. ANN AND I SAY BRING ON THE STAKE DRIVER! Again I dont get it....this seems like a ‘that was then this is now situation’
This crap was posted over 5 months ago !
Are you trying to get Obama elected ?
You trashed Meg Whitman when Left wing Brown too. ?
Are u working for the Dems here ?
Sure seems like it...
The Presidential Race is about the relative light reflectivity of your Slavemaster.
I don't get the part where RomneyCare is identical to and the progenitor of ObamaCare, Romney is still proud of RomneyCare, and then pledges to kill his intellectual offspring.
Since Apr 23, 2012
Mitt, is that you?
As I have observed before when Ms. Malkin’s article was posted before, Romneycare is only approximately equal to Obamacare.
Both are bad policy.
Neither contains health care costs (quite the opposite).
Both are affronts to liberty.
But, Romneycare falls within the powers reserved to the states and to the people. If the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts want to lodge too much of those reserved powers with the Commonwealth, rather than the people, it is destructive of liberty only for those who chose to live in Massachusetts. Americans can vote with their feet by moving out of Massachusetts (or into Massachusetts if they fancy living in a nanny state). Obamacare requires the further destruction of the Constitution by the bizarre conceit that forcing people to buy a product which heretofore could not be sold across state lines due to the fact that health insurance is regulated by the several states is ‘regulating interstate commerce’. The only way for Americans to “vote with their feet” against it is to become expatriates. Thus, it is objectively worse than Romneycare.
(This is not an argument in favor of voting for Gov. Romney should he, as seems inevitable, secure the Republican nomination for President. I am merely pointing out that a flat out equation of the two programs is hyperbole as a critique of Romneycare and understates the destructiveness of Obamacare.)
Yes, Romney is campaigning on repealing Obamacare. If we get a conservative Senate this time, I expect a bill and a signature.
He’s also campaigning on letting the states, not the feds, do programs likes this. I think that’s the proper approach. I think that objectively what hurts him is any problems in MassCare reflect on his governance there.
Bottom line, without something happening, Obamacare rolls on. And with Obama as president, nothing going to happen.
I hear he's going to blame Bush next.
In the spirit of Jim Robinson's call for a truce I will flame neither you nor Mitt, but will say that I will be voting for someone whom I have discerned to be better at keeping their word.
Well, again.. MITT promises to kill it..he said it was a Mass. experiment that went bad and was not meant to be a nationwide law....seems to me he’s ‘over it’ if he’s said he’s gonna kill it....AND... and we have ANNIE who says she’ll kill HIM if he doesn’t....
On the other hand we have the Dems, who will most certainly continue to try to kill US WITH IT if THEY win....so I’LL TAKE DOOR NUMBER ONE.
He’s never disavowed Romneycare, not even when he was going “severely conservative” in the primaries. His surrogates have suggested they CAN’T repeal all of Obamacare and will be working on a “Health Care Task Force” (yay, a new czar) to produce a new plan. Since Romney refused to disavow Romneycare even when he was under tremendous pressure to do so from the other candidates, you can assume he will be trying to push a similar plan to Romneycare on the other 49 states through his officially announced “Health Care Task Force.” They’ll probably put up some smokescreen to make it look like it was a “states’ rights” decision even though the feds pushed it on them.
Show me when Mitt 0bamney apologized for forcing socialism onto people.
Show me when Mitt 0bamney apologized for presuming his government can force me to buy anything he says.
Otherwise, STFU, and go back to your GOP-e snuggle.