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More than any other candidate, Gov. Romney's background provides a strong set of credentials in regard to knowledge of the healthcare system. The following is a list of points which illustrate Romney's knowledge and accomplishments in the area of healthcare reform.
1) While working for Bain & Company- Early in his career, Romney personally advised several large hospitals across the country. Romney writes at length about one experience at a hospital in Morristown, New Jersey where he had his first in-depth study in healthcare economics. In order to effectively advise the hospital, Romney's team collected an enormous amount of data on everything in the hospital from surgical procedures to cotton swabs to nursing staff hours. After a lengthy period of intense data-collecting, Romney's team developed a system of changes the hospital could implement to make it more efficient and profitable. That system which Romney created was then used to advise over 100 hospitals in the following years. Romney developed a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, not just talking points that other politicians like to deliver. Romney actually worked in the industry, and develop systems to improve it.
Also while at Bain & Company, Romney advised pharmaceutical companies in a similar manner. Romney doesn't go into much detail in his book about his work in the pharmaceutical industry, though I will update this later as I learn more.
2) Turning around the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and other large national companies - While not directly related to healthcare, you have to admit that Romney has a talent turning around troubled programs.
When the offer came for Romney to take over the troubled 2002 Olympic Winter Games, to be held in Salt Lake City in Utah, she [wife, Ann Romney] urged him to take it, and eager for a new challenge, he did. On February 11, 1999, Romney was hired as the new president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.Before Romney came on, the event was running $379 million short of its revenue benchmarks. Plans were being made to scale back the games to compensate for the fiscal crisis and there were fears the games might be moved away entirely. The Games had also been damaged by allegations of bribery involving top officials[.]
Romney revamped the organization’s leadership and policies, reduced budgets, and boosted fund raising. He soothed worried corporate sponsors and recruited many new ones. He admitted past problems, listened to local critics, and rallied Utah’s citizenry with a sense of optimism. Romney worked to ensure the safety of the Games following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by ignoring those who suggested the games be called off and coordinating a $300 million security budget. He became the public face of the Olympic effort, appearing in countless photographs and news stories and even on Olympics souvenir pins.[…]
Overall he oversaw a $1.32 billion budget, 700 employees, and 26,000 volunteers.
Despite the initial fiscal shortfall, the Games ended up clearing a profit of $100 million, not counting the $224.5 million in security costs contributed by outside sources. Romney broke the record for most private money raised by any individual for an Olympics games, summer or winter. His performance as Olympics head was rated positively by 87 percent of Utahns. Romney and his wife contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and he donated to charity the $1.4 million in salary and severance payments he received for his three years as president and CEO.
Romney was widely praised for his successful efforts with the 2002 Winter Olympics including by President George W. Bush, and it solidified his reputation as a turnaround artist.
Harvard Business School taught a case study based around Romney’s successful actions.
With a track record in all of these areas, it is very plausible that Romney can turn around the healthcare industry also.
3) Massachusetts Healthcare Reform - Other candidates may talk about their theories on how to reform healthcare, but Romney is the only one who has actually done it. As I have said elsewhere, the MA healthcare reform was the result of years of study into the industry and it represents the only significant healthcare reform law in the U.S. in the past several decades. (For a more complete discussion of the MA Healthcare Reform, read here.)
No other candidate can boast of such accomplished work and study in the healthcare industry. It is a complicated industry that requires someone with real working knowledge of the area to reform it.
With Medicare and Medicaid currently consuming 18% of our national budget, which is more than our ENTIRE expenditures on national defense, reforming our healthcare entitlement programs represent America's greatest and most urgent problem.