Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RomneyCare Vs. ObamaCare - The Big Differences

Overall Size and Scope
1) Whole bill was 70 pages
2) Romney vetoed significant sections of the bill including the employer penalty for not providing health insurance
3) Romney favored an “opt out” provision from the mandate
4) Romney wanted no mandated benefits for health care coverage, 'catastrophic' coverage only
5) No federal gov. insurance option
6) Intended as a market driven solution to healthcare
1) Whole bill was 2,074 pages
2) Very broad regulation of the insurance industry including an employer penalty for not providing health insurance 
3) No “opt out” provision
4) Many mandated benefits. Establishes a 15 member board of unelected bureaucrats with great control over health care benefits and risks rationing health care
5) Leaves open the option of creating single-payer gov. insurance in the future
6) Intended as a step toward gov. run insurance
1) No new taxes!
2) Romney balanced the state’s budget first, then passed healthcare law
3) No cuts to Medicare benefits
4) Modest cost to state (only added 1% to state budget)
1) Increased taxes by $500 billion
-Taxes people who don’t buy insurance
2) Despite massive federal gov. debt, Obama still passed Obamacare
3) Cuts Medicare by $719 billion
4) Overall costs unknown!
1) Very strong bipartisan support
2) Strong special interest support
3) Very popular among the public in Massachusetts
4) Strong consensus of approval was built in the state to support the law
-Consensus was built to support an individual mandate
1) Absolutely no bipartisan support
2) Very controversial and divided special interest groups
3) Unpopular in nation overall
4) No consensus was built to support a mandate
Does the Constitution Define it as a “Tax” or “Penalty/Fee”?
1) Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts ruled state mandates are “penalties” because states have different authority and powers than the fed. gov.
-Massachusetts constitution never considered this a tax
1) Supreme Court ruled that federal gov. only has the authority to enact this law by its ability to “tax,” and does not meet the required standards to be considered a “penalty.”
-This tax will be enforced by the IRS
-Breaks Obama’s promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class
1) A unique solution created by a state to solve its particular problems
-Through collaboration and discussion, Massachusetts created a consensus among stakeholders to support the new law

2) Much easier to change and adapt a state law if problems arise. If MA doesn’t like the law, they can change it. 
-ObamaCare, however, is a new federal/nationwide entitlement program (like Medicare & Social Security), thus extremely difficult to reform.
1) Federal gov. “one-size-fits-all” plan
-Doesn’t take into account that each state is unique in important ways such as:
A)Vastly different debt levels between states (some states can’t afford new spending on health care)
B)Some states have twice the percentage of uninsured citizens (Much greater costs will be imposed on states with a larger percentage of uninusured citizens)
C)Conservative states and citizens will reject implementation of federal gov. plan, including the individual mandate
Different Outcomes from Each Plan

1) 98.1% of adults and 99.8% of children have health insurance
2) The number of employers offering health insurance went up from 70% to 76%
3) Did not make doctor shortages worse
4) Overall, premium prices have gone down for most groups
5) No negative affect on job creation in the state
6) Created to help the poor afford health insurance 
1) According to the CBO, 30 million people will still not have health insurance after fully implemented. Only covers an additional 6.3% of Americans. 10% of America will still be uninsured
2) The CBO estimates that fewer people will get health insurance from their employer 
3) NY Times says it will make doctors shortages worse in some areas of the country
4) Since passage, premium prices have risen 9% per year
5) CBO estimates there will be less jobs as a result
6) Some states will have almost everyone in the state getting some form of subsidy to buy health insurance

Monday, December 5, 2011

Donald Trump Gets Trumped

Today, Karl Rove spoke out against Donald Trump saying that Trump should not be allowed to be moderator of a Republican Debate in Iowa at the end of December. Rove raises some good questions against Trump such as "Is it appropriate for someone who is going to endorse a particular candidate to moderate a debate?" And the even better point made by Rove "Can someone who is claiming that he (Trump) might run for president as a third party be allowed to moderate a debate?"

I give kudos to Mr. Rove for speaking out.

I am totally against a Trump moderated debate simply because Trump does not have the proper credentials to be moderator. The most recent moderating performed by "The Donald," was Trump judging the Miss America Pageant. And now he wants to judge a GOP debate? I don't think so. A debate moderated by Trump will create buzz for the network but will ultimately distract from the candidates on the stage and instead people will focus on the "sideshow" of Mr. Trump.

Unfortunately, many of the GOP candidates want Trump's endorsement (or more likely, Trump's millions of dollars deposited in a their Super PAC), so the candidates are reluctant to express their unhappiness with Trump as moderator. It is unfortunate so I am glad Rove took a stand on this issue.

What is funny to me is why the GOP candidates even want Trump's endorsement. Trump was totally discredited as a serious candidate last summer when Trump attacked Obama on "birther" grounds. Trump's false claim that he had people in Hawaii doing research on Obama's birth certificate and "they cannot believe what they are finding" is such a line of BS that when Obama finally released his birth certificate shortly after Osama bin Laden was killed, Trump's poll numbers dropped like a rock.

Trump frequently refers to Ron Paul as a "joke candidate," but the truth is Trump is the joke candidate and he should not be allowed to moderate a Republican debate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Poll: Voters Like Much of Health Care Law — But Not the Individual Mandate

Here is the summary from the WSJ:
Expect campaign strategists to pay close attention to new polling data on the politics of health care out Wednesday from the Kaiser Family Foundation. With health care already a major issue in the 2012 election, the nonpartisan policy group’s latest poll has seven findings message-crafters might find interesting:
1. The law is still unpopular but not as disliked as it was in October. In the latest tracking poll, 44% of voters held an unfavorable opinion of it compared with 51% who said in October that they viewed it unfavorably.
2. Among the 44% who viewed the law unfavorably, more than three quarters said they felt that way at least in part because of their “general feelings about the direction of the country and what’s going on in Washington right now.”
3. Even though there are more voters who don’t like the law than voters who do, some 50% want to keep it, and only 38% definitely know they want to repeal it.
4. Almost every individual element in the package is popular with a majority of the public, especially the requirements that insurers provide easy-to-understand plan summaries (84% like that) and  provide coverage to people regardless of their medical histories (67% like that).  Even increasing the payroll tax on higher-income earners to help fund Medicare is acceptable to more than half of the respondents.
5. A majority of people – 63% — don’t like the requirement that they carry insurance or pay a fine.
6. The poll showed that when respondents were told about specific provisions, the tended to like them, but the often didn’t know they were in the law. That lack of information could hurt Democrats. Much of the law isn’t scheduled to kick in until well after the election — 2014.  But starting this year, insurance companies must cover preventive care  (including contraception) without a copay. Most respondents think that’s great.
7. There’s still some misinformation out there. Some 56% of respondents thought that the overhaul included a new government-run insurance plan to be offered along with private plans. (It didn’t.) And 35% of respondents thought that the law allowed for a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare. (Again, it didn’t.)
The full poll results are here.  It has a margin of error of three percentage points.

For Romney supporters, this is an interesting poll. The public, and especially independents,  definitely like certain parts of the new bill. The parts of the law that people like are:

1) being able to keep kids on their parents insurance till age 26
2) barring insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions
3) barring insurers from having a maximum annual amount of money insurers will pay for catastrophic  or extensive care
4) requiring insurers to provide easy to understand summaries of health care plans
5) increasing payroll taxes on the wealthy to help fund Medicare
6) requiring insurers to cover preventative care without a copay

I think former Senator Bill Frist said it best when he said that about 70% of the new health care law is good. Most conservatives tend to forget that even if the Supreme Court rules ObamaCare as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will only strike down the elements of the law that are unconstitutional leaving much of the law in place. If much of the law remains in place, who better to deal with the law than a man who has been immersed in a similar law for over six years? Of course Mitt Romney would be the most qualified. 

28 States Now Finished the First Major Threshold in Setting Up Insurance Exchanges

WSJ has the summary that 28 states have now cleared the first phase of implementing a Health Insurance Exchange.

Interestingly, many of the states that are currently suing the federal gov. to overturn the health care law are still implementing the law. Federal law states that if a particular state has not set up an exchange by 2013, then the federal gov. will step in and run the exchange for that state.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mitt Romney's Health Care Consistency

It may come as no surprise to you but the press has gotten a bit lazy. All too often, the press spews out stories about how Romney has "flip-flopped" on an issue without doing their due diligence and actually finding out if the charges against Mitt are true.

Let's talk about health care. Despite what Romney's detractors and rivals would have you think, Romney's health care policies remain the same today as they always have. Romney's health care plan for America can be stated simply and succinctly: Romney wants each state to have the same freedom that he had in Massachusetts to innovate and design their own unique health care policies.

Byron York, chief political correspondent of the Washington Examiner, summarized it best when he said this:

On many, many occasions, Romney said he believes Romneycare is a model for some states to follow but would not be a model for all states and certainly not for a federal plan. 
"I think it's a great plan, but I'm a federalist," Romney said on "Meet the Press" in December 2007. "I don't believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances." 
In that 2007 interview, Romney pointed out that a relatively small number, 7 percent, of the Massachusetts population was uninsured. "Texas has 25 percent," he said. "Given the kind of differences between states, I'm not somebody who is going to say, 'What I did in Massachusetts I'm going to now tell every state they have to do it the same way.'" 
But as much as he stressed federalism, Romney also stressed that he would be happy to see many states adopt his plan. "I think it's a good model for other states," he continued. "Maybe not every state but most." At the federal level, Romney said he would "give every state the same kind of flexibility we got from the federal government." That's the Romney position, then and now.

Romney wants the same kind of flexibility for other states that "he had" because Romney received special approval from the federal government (the Bush Administration at the time), to bring about the Massachusetts health care reform plan now known as "RomneyCare." The federal government allowed for Massachusetts to spend federal dollars in a totally different way than any other state was allowed to do at the time. Romney got approval to use Medicaid money to not just pay for health care services, but to help the poor buy a health insurance policy from a private insurance company. In order to give each state the same flexibility and freedom that he had, Romney wants to "block grant" all Medicaid funding to the states so that states don't have the excessive rules and regulations that typically come with accepting money from the federal government.

Since the passage of RomneyCare in 2006, Romney has been consistent regarding his plan for other states: States are free to adopt some, all, or none of the MA health care plan.

Here is an interview with Gov. Romney on NPR on April 8, 2006 where he said this:
Q: Stepping back, what impact do you think this will have outside Massachusetts?
A: Around the country, people are watching because they know this is big. Some on the far left don’t like it because it’s not a single-payer universal coverage program. Some on the far right don’t like it because they don’t like government telling people that they need to get insurance. But the great majority of people, both on the left and the right, believe that this is a step forward.
Q: Can this model be used in other states?
A: My guess is a lot of states will choose to adopt one or another of the measures we’ve put in place here. But most will give it a little time and watch to see what our experience is. That’s the great thing about having 50 states and the principle of federalism. Let us experiment ourselves. Let us learn from one another.

Romney believes that states should have the power to experiment and innovate by giving them Medicaid funds without all the regulations. Additionally, states can be encouraged to innovate by offering "innovation grants" to states that come up with the most promising plans on how to lower costs or increase access to health care in their particular state. These innovation grants would help pay for the cost of implementing the new policy.

Here is what Romney says in his book, No Apology:
"My own preference is to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model if they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state ‘laboratories of democracy,’ could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others."

In summary, Romney's health care policies remain the same today as they have from the beginnning. Romney's health care plan for America is simply to give each state the same freedom that he had in Massachusetts to innovate and design their own unique health care policies by block granting Medicaid funds and providing "innovation grants." From the outset Romney has said that states are free to adopt some, all, or none of the Massachusetts health care law and that the MA health care model would not work in all states. Romney has always emphasized state-level initiatives to improve health care and certainly never advocated a federal plan.

In regard to the press, it's disappointing that the press continues to mindlessly repeat exaggerations and supposed flip-flop stories without doing the research to confirm whether the stories are true, or if a political opponent is behind the exaggerations. As Romney supporters, we can make a difference. If you read an article that falsely claims Romney has flip-flopped or distorted Romney's views, send them an email. Having sent many such emails myself, I can tell you that these emails are often read and considered. For example, there used to be a lot of stories in the press stating how RomneyCare was bankrupting the state of Massachusetts. We don't hear that story being told much anymore because most news organizations now see that it is false. Sending a short email where you back up your claim with links can make a big difference.

To find out more about RomneyCare, including a discussion about individual mandates, be sure to peruse our new "RomneyCare FAQ" page here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New 'RomneyCare FAQ Page' Now Available on Mitt Romney Central!!!

After a lot of work, we here at 'Mitt Romney and Health Care' have teamed up with 'Mitt Romney Central' to produce the internet's first RomneyCare FAQ page!!! It is an exciting moment for us to be able to collaborate with the team at Mitt Romney Central to produce such a thorough and extensive analysis of RomneyCare.

Please take a moment to check out the page here.

Our goal in producing this FAQ page was to provide answers to many of the most common questions and misconceptions people have about RomneyCare. Because health care is such a complicated field, answers to difficult questions can be hard to find. We hope this page will serve as a resource to the public and Romney supporters when looking for answers about RomneyCare.

Of course it is impossible to answer every question, but if you have a burning question that doesn't appear to be answered in the FAQ page, please let us know.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Herman Cain Has an Oops Moment

The New York Times just released this video that portrays a stunning lack of knowledge Herman Cain has about Libya. In the beginning of the video, Herman Cain has to be reminded of what Libya is; he can't even recall what country it is that they are talking about. It is rather stunning.

Check it out here.