An in-depth article by The New Yorker magazine of Mitt Romney and his healthcare law was released this week. I found the title of the piece very complimentary. The title was "Mitt Romney, health-care hero." I have to admit that I agree with the title whole-heartedly due to the fact that Mitt Romney has been the only person to reform healthcare in any significant way for decades.
The article itself wasn't overly complimentary but did bring up some interesting points that I would like to share.
- By far the most interesting and complimentary statement of the article was "Romney had accomplished a longstanding Democratic goal - universal health insurance - by combining three conservative policies." I like that line because it is easy to forget that Romney beat Democrats at their own goal of achieving universal health insurance. But Romney did it not with a government takeover, but with conservative principles. Romney's healthcare plan was a novel approach to fixing his state's healthcare dilemma.
- The article states, "most conservatives praised Romney's plan" when it was first passed in 2006. Another interesting point that we often forget when listening to the dialogue that goes on in the press these days.
- Robert Moffit, a policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said of Romney's plan back in 2006 "The real trick is to retain what is best in American health care while correcting its deficiencies and expanding upon its indisputable benefits. Massachusetts has done just that."
-"The Bush Administration sent a letter praising the passage of the new law." The fact that the Bush administration was also involved in the creation of Romney's healthcare law is often overlooked. In fact, the article states that "if the healthcare law worked, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush could both take credit for reforming health care by using market-based ideas and without raising taxes." Without the support of the Bush administration, Romney's healthcare law would never have become a reality.
-"Obama ran an ad in which he criticized Clinton's proposal for a health care mandate." Obama performed a major flip-flop on this issue by first being against a health care mandate during his campaign and then making the mandate the centerpiece of his health care reform.
- The article concedes that "in many ways" it is true that Romneycare resulted from the unique circumstances of his state, and was not necessarily meant as a national plan. One of the ways that Romneycare was unique to MA was in the way that it was funded. The funding of Romneycare was done in a unique way without raising taxes, but Obamacare required raising taxes in order to accomplish the same goals. The article goes on to state "It's not entirely unreasonable to praise Mass-care with bashing Obamacare." Obamacare does raise taxes, costs more, and has many additional provisions and regulations which expand government influence much more significantly into the healthcare market.
All of these points are easy to forget. I was glad to see that many of them were discussed at length in the article. Conservatives should keep these points in mind as they consider voting for Romney in the primaries.