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.

Supreme Court To Hear Case Against ObamaCare

The Supreme Court formally announced its decision to hear arguments against President Obama's new health care law. The Supreme Court has devoted a significant amount of time to hearing arguments for and against the health care law, the most time allotted in recent memory.

It is nice to hear that the Supreme Court has finally gotten around to "accepting" the case. I am a little frustrated by the slowness of this process however. The Supreme Court says that it will most likely make a ruling in late July. It is unfortunate that we have to wait 8 months before the ruling. In that 8 months, billions of dollars will be spend by the federal government and the states in order to implement the law.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mark Halperin Discusses Romney's Unique Advantages

Mark Halperin brings up some great points about Romney's unique advantages in the upcoming race. Here are the 10 points that Halperin discusses.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Publishing on Mitt Romney Central

After much work, I have written a summary of RomneyCare for the good folks at Mitt Romney Central. There is a lot of new information about to be published there that I haven't written about on this blog, so be sure to take a look when we finally get the information out.

The information is going to be on a page called "RomneyCare FAQ."

The RomneyCare FAQ page is the kind of thing I wish the Romney campaign had written long ago to address misconceptions about Romney's health care plan. A thorough summary of RomneyCare that answers many of the common misconceptions is something that is badly needed. Because health care is such a complicated topic, misconceptions are extremely common, even pervasive.

I am sure the FAQ page won't answer every question out there that people may have, but it is my hope that it will answer some of the more common questions and help move the ball forward in informing people about the important advances Mitt Romney made to health care. Here's to hoping.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Romney's Medicare Proposal

Here it is in Romney's own words:

Our next president must protect Medicare, improve the program, and keep it sustainable for generations to come. Several principles will guide my efforts.First, Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it. We should honor our commitments to our seniors.Second, as with Social Security, tax hikes are not the solution. We couldn’t tax our way out of unfunded liabilities so large, even if we wanted to.Third, tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like. Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private healthcare plans that provide at least the same level of benefits. Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare for tomorrow’s seniors.The federal government will help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need. Those with lower incomes will receive more generous assistance. Beneficiaries can keep the savings from less expensive options, or they can choose to pay more for a costlier plan.Finally, as with Social Security, the eligibility age should slowly increase to keep pace with increases in longevity.These ideas will give tomorrow’s seniors the same kinds of choices that most Americans have in their healthcare today. The future of Medicare should be marked by competition, choice, and innovation—rather than bureaucracy, stagnation, and bankruptcy. 
A conservative columnist from the New York Times, David Brooks, recently praised the plan:
Romney's Medicare proposal exemplifies the sort of big reformist vision that should be at the center of a serious Republican campaign. 

Brooks goes on to discuss the positives of the plan by saying that it allows for America to experiment with different health care reform options to see which ones are most effective.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ohio Rejects ObamaCare's Individual Mandate

Today Ohio voters rejected ObamaCare's individual mandate that requires all persons to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Even with a large democratic turnout, 66% of Ohio voters rejected the idea of an individual mandate to buy health insurance.

Considering that Ohio is a large swing state, and that there was a heavy democratic turnout, this is a huge victory for the anti-ObamaCare crowd. The vote symbolizes how the individual mandate is unpopular nationwide and should not have been used as a federal plan imposed on all states. As Romney frequently said from the beginning, states should not be forced to use the individual mandate. What worked in Massachusetts may not work in every state, especially if the citizenry are opposed to the mandate approach. Romney always intended that states have an open dialogue discussing different health care reform options and then experiment with health care reform.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

While the World Focuses on Cain, Romney Focuses on Obama

While the national press has been absorbed in the Herman Cain scandal, Romney's campaign remains disciplined and even elegant in its objective of attacking Obama.

It is interesting to watch the Cain scandal unfold and observe Cain's flat-footed and inconsistent response's to the media's constant questioning. Rick Perry also is struggling to regain his footing after a strange speech in New Hampshire where the candidate appeared as though he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

So while other campaigns are struggling just to keep their head above water, Romney's campaign is orchestrating an elaborate attack against Obama where Romney is using a political tactic know as "bracketing" against Obama. Bracketing is where a candidate follows his opponent and speaks at the same venues right after his opponent. Romney has been bracketing Obama in many of Obama's recent media appearances. A smart move for the front-runner that shows not only the Romney campaign's political acumen, but also the decisive edge Romney holds over his rivals. Romney even coined a phrase called "Obama's 4-4-4 plan" which says that Obama's strategy is "in 4 years to increase the national debt by 4 trillion and to have 4 million people out of work." The Obama 4-4-4 plan was so popular that it was even posted on some liberal websites such as Talking Points Memo.

So while Romney's rivals struggle just to keep their heads above water, Romney continues to stay on message and move forward with his goals. It is really quite impressive to witness such a stark contrast.