By Tom Quiner
Mitt Romney appreciates aspects of Obamacare.
This is understandable. After all, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid modeled Obamacare after Romneycare health insurance legislation enacted in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor.
Mr. Romney said his legislation provided consumers with “incentives” to purchase health insurance. This is a nicer word than mandate. Let us be crystal clear with Romneycare and Obamacare: if someone doesn’t buy health insurance, they can be fined and eventually imprisoned if they don’t pay their fine.
The president agrees with Romney’s basic philosophy.
Mr. Romney, however, rejects the mandate at the national level and would try to undue that aspect of Obamacare.
Let’s look at what’s happened to the health insurance market in Massachusetts with the enactment of Romneycare. Since the passage of this legislation in 2006, 412,000 new people have become insured, but only 7000 of them at unsubsidized rates. Tax payers are paying for chunks of the premiums for the rest of the new folks now being covered.
Mr. Romney says his plan helped to keep rates down. Really? Rates have increased dramatically since Romneycare passed. Today, Massachusetts has the most expensive health insurance premiums in the country, double the national average.
It’s much the same with Obamacare. The Kaiser Foundation examined the early impact of Obamacare on health insurance. Rates went up 9% last year, triple the rate increase of the previous year. They attribute 2% of the increase directly to Obamacare.
The president promised Obamacare would increase our choices. The exact opposite has happened as many companies have exited the business because of lack of profitability under more onerous government regulation.
Obamacare has reduced one of the best ways to reduce health care costs: health savings accounts. His party cut the deduction in half for these cost-effective plans. Now new Health and Human Service guidelines threaten to completely gut the plans, affecting 10 million Americans, including me.
In 2014, Obamacare fully kicks in, requiring us to buy government-designed plans whether we need, or want, the type of coverage offered.
Romneycare and Obamacare share some common aspects: more expensive coverage for consumers, less choice.
I have a concern with Mitt Romney. He really doesn’t have a problem with much of Obamacare, only some of it. In his own words: “I hope we’re ultimately able to eliminate some of the differences, and repeal the bad and keep the good.”
He wants to tinker around the edges.
I suggest the better approach is to cancel Obamacare and start over with market-driven solutions.