Will Mitt Romney Disown RomneyCare?

Mitt Romney just announced he’ll be delivering a big speech on health care this Thursday. The focus, no doubt, will be on RomneyCare—the controversial 2006 health care overhaul he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. The law, which the Obama administration has praised as the model for ObamaCare, has become Romney’s biggest political liability, yet in recent months he’s continued to stand by it.

And he's done so despite the law’s many obvious, ongoing failures. For a smart take on those failures, you should read Michael Graham’s column in today’s Boston Herald (and not just because he quotes me): Graham looks at the long wait times Bay State residents are forced to endure in order to see doctors, pointing to a survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society which notes that a majority of the state's primary care centers are no longer accepting new patients, and (presumably as a consequence) wait times are growing longer and longer at those remaining practices that are still taking newcomers. The particular survey is new, but the basic point isn’t: I’ve noted the state’s long doctor wait times on multiple occasions, and The Boston Globe has been running similar stories since at least 2008.

Of course, long lines aren’t the only problem plaguing RomneyCare. Indeed, aside from the increase in insurance coverage—an increase that’s considerably less impressive considering the state’s preexisting high coverage levels—there’s little that gone right. That’s why Graham’s final point is so important:

In politics there are missteps, mistakes, and unmitigated disasters. Romneycare falls solidly in the latter category. Longer lines, higher premiums, more state spending and fewer seats in the local emergency room — is there any upside?

This is the right question to ask. So far, RomneyCare has “worked” in one significant way: It’s increased the number of Bay State residents who have health insurance coverage. But that was the bare minimum that it was designed to do, and it may not even be able to do that if some of the more serious problems continue.

Meanwhile, just about all the other big news about RomneyCare has been bad: Wait times are longer. Insurance prices across the state are the highest in the nation and rising still. Emergency rooms are more crowded than ever. The whole system is beset by cost overruns large enough that state officials have suggested the overspending could endanger the program’s very existence. Defending RomneyCare at this point is like finding out that you’ve bought a car (RomneyCar?) where the windows don’t work, the steering is misaligned, the gas mileage is half what was advertised, the radiator appears to be cracked, and the brakes seem looser and looser every day—but saying, “Hey! It still drives!”

Even if he flip-flops, I don’t know that there’s anything Romney could say to excuse his participation in passing the law: It’s not just that he signed the law in the first place; it’s that he’s continued to defend it, despite the onslaught of bad news, even going so far last February as to say that he was “proud” of his accomplishment. But it’ll be interesting to see him try.

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  • Paul||

    RomneyCare has “worked” in one significant way: It’s increased the number of Bay State residents who have health insurance coverage.

    Sounding like a broken record, that's easy to do. Increasing access and coverage literally can be done with the wave of a wand (or legislative pen, in this case-- both having about the same effectiveness).

    It's when you actually have to start providing real healthcare is when things go awry.

    Supporters of RomneyCare even admitted this.

  • Rich||

    This. "Access =/= coverage =/= care =/= health" seems to be very difficult to understand.

  • Jerry||

    You know how we can fix unemployment? Just make everyone a government bureaucrat. Stamp away!

  • Barack Obama||

    Thanks for the tip! I might try that.

  • ||

    Is this a spoof?

  • Ed McMahon||

    It makes sense...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He should have thrown RomneyCare under a bus first chance he got. Just claim that it was a state experiment that got away from him once the Democrats or bureaucrats or whoever took over, and that he learned his lesson. Best chance to put some distance between him and the fail.

  • L4F||

    Mitt better do it, otherwise I'm gonna start refering to him as a Marxist Mitt or Mittxist for short. Seriously, what kind of name is Mitt? Oh well, I suppose it's better than Barrack, at least Mitt is an American name.

    Quitting Smoking Can Kill You: Chantix Sued after Man Murders Wife.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....antix.html

  • Spoonman.||

    ...WTF?

  • cynical||

    GREGOOOOOOOOO

  • L4F||

    I'm back, new name since this site keeps banning me as a spammer, can you imagine that? Oh the horror.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I can't imagine what could have given it that impression.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    BTW, for the Mitt name change I vote "Mulatto Mitt". Just kind of rolls off the tongue, you know?

  • L4F||

    It does, although it's not technically correct since the Mitt Monster is not biracial i.e. mulatto.

    Oh well, it's a free country, call him whatever makes you happy.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I actually looked it up on babynames.com, and it turns out that Mitt... actually is an American name derived from the even worse "Willard". WTF, America?!

  • Joe M||

    Yeah, Willard is his birth name.

  • L4F||

    I stand corrected, Mitt is a lot nicer than Willard. Wasn't there a Willard that had control of a bunch of rats in a movie? Filthy, filthy, filthy.

  • WarrenT||

    Just combo his names you and get Mittard.

  • L4F||

    LOL WarrenT. But won't retarded people get offended with us? Aw, screw them! They're retarded, they probably don't get it anyway.

  • yonemoto||

    ? babynames says mitt is short for milton.

  • Mango Punch||

    LEAVE MITT ALONE!!! JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!! LLLEEEEEAAAAAAVVVVVVVVVEEEEEE MIIIIIIITTTTTT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    Dude that jsut does not make any sense at all dude.

    www.anon-web.es.tc

  • Joe M||

    Supposedly, polls have shown that primary voters don't seem to mind the RomneyCare thing much, which seems like some serious cognitive dissonance. One Romney gets into the debates, I don't see how he'll survive, since every other candidate will be absolutely hammering him on this issue.

  • ||

    I guess it depends on which voters you're talking about. The notional "general presidential voter" hasn't experienced the fun of Romneycare and thus is liable to be swayed by its meretricious promises.

  • Law Student||

    Except Pawlenty, they gave him a softball in the debate and he bunted.

  • Paul||

    Romney only has to win the Primary. If he avoids the RomneyCare subject during the debates and wins the Primary, can then embrace RomneyCare hard when he gets into the general. He can claim to be the Midwife of Obama's [greatest accomplishment], and even go as far as claiming that Obama could have done it better, if he'd have stuck closer to RomneyCare.

    No GOP faithful will switch to Obama. American politics doesn't work that way. But he might pull a few disaffected Obama voters and pull off a surprise win.

    I mean, all this from a politics-as-sports perspective.

  • Law Student||

    I have my doubts about how far tea partiers are willing to go to hold the GOP to some limited government standards but I think in that situation there will be more people switching to a third party than people he would gain from Obama.

  • Paul||

    The silver lining is that third party candidates have been a much bigger aggravation to the main two parties more in the last several elections than I remember in the past.

  • JoshINHB||

    then embrace RomneyCare hard when he gets into the general. He can claim to be the Midwife of Obama's [greatest accomplishment], and even go as far as claiming that Obama could have done it better, if he'd have stuck closer to RomneyCare.

    A bullshit stunt like that would blow up the republican party once and for all. So may that worthless pos Mutt the Romnunist can serve the public afterall.

  • Name Nomad||

    I was disappointed last time around when no one at asked him at a townhall event whether or not he would support funding a NASA mission to Kolob. Maybe this season, someone will do it?

  • Law Student||

    Sure, why would he make that up?
    Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.

  • ola||

    Or to reach out and get the black vote, Romney could give his religion's take on the mark of cain.

  • silent v||

    Six colons this article? I haven't seen this many colons since something something bath house.

  • ||

    Whether he disowns it or not is irrelevant to me. It proves, beyond refutation, that his instincts are Big Government Technocrat Top-Down Control Guy.

    That, we don't need. No matter how Important his hair is.

  • Joe M||

    But he looks presidential!

  • ||

    Why do you hate hair?

  • Paul||

    Those of us who don't have it are skeptical of those who do.

  • ||

    Problem: long lines at the doctor's office, with rich and poor doing the waiting side-by-side.

    Libertarian Solution: kick out the patients who can't afford to pay their own way, and the lines will be shorter for the rest of us. Yay!

    Two percent on election day is about two percent more than you folks deserve.

  • Jason||

    Libertarian Solution: Increase supply of doctors to meet demand.

  • yonemoto||

    Hey Danny. It's called charity, you selfish prick.

  • Danny, translated||

    I steal your money because I can, bitches!

  • ||

    Problem: Long lines at the doctor's office, because demand far exceeds supply.

    Libertarian Solution: Allow the market to operate, so that supply matches demand.

    Having a market that operates in healthcare requires two things:

    (1) Demand side: Patients who pay at least some of their own bills, so that they don't go to the doctor's office whenever they have a sniffle, or feel lonely (you'd be surprised how many Medicare visits are essentially social calls).

    (2) Supply side: Deregulation of the health care industry, to remove barriers to entry.

    I know: heartless. Letting people do what they want, and making people take some responsibility for what they do.

  • Liberal Parrot||

    Squawk! Health care is a right! Squawk! It's not like other commodities! Squawk! Market Failure! Squawk!

  • Paul||

    Libertarian Solution: kick out the patients who can't afford to pay their own way, and the lines will be shorter for the rest of us. Yay!

    Progressive solution: Stick sick people in a line at the end of which is a dark room with nothing in it with a sign reading "Access!" on the door.

  • ||

    Paul waits for the doctors to "go Galt."

    And he waits...
    and he waits...
    and he waits...

  • Joe M||

    But no answer for RC Dean's points...

  • ||

    Regarding that:

    Supply Side: Nothing about RomneyCare or ACA prohibits "deregulating" -- that is, lowering standards -- for health care providers. You want lower credentials for doctors and nurses and other workers in the system? Be my guest.

    Demand Side: Medicare already has substantial co-pays. The notion that "social visits" is a major component of our health care crisis is a data-free ipse dixit that I can neither confirm nor deny, but I have the gravest of doubts.

    As for the overall thesis, I tend to think that if it were all that easy, at least one state in the union would have done it by now. My sense is that we have very good but very expensive medical services available to us, and we are trying to figure out how to allocate them in accord with our norms and values, in which ability-to-pay competes with other legitimate considerations.

    The Libertarian message is the same as always: pay up or hit the road, and take your crying kids with you. (This approach is supposed to maximize utility in the "long run" -- feh.) Meanwhile, the other 98% of society is actually grappling with human reality and trying to figure out how to uphold civilization.

    Thanks for the dead-weight as always, 2-percenters.

  • adam||

    Medicare has substantial co-insurance that nearly everyone avoids through strictly regulated supplemental policies or Medicare Advantage. Almost no one actually pays the co-insurance.

  • Tncm||

    [quote]Supply Side: Nothing about RomneyCare or ACA prohibits "deregulating" -- that is, lowering standards -- for health care providers. You want lower credentials for doctors and nurses and other workers in the system? Be my guest.[/quote]

    Because only the government can establish rating agencies for firms or individuals. Not the private market, just the federal government. Yep.

  • Tncm||

    Dammit, sorry for butchering HTML. I just got off a forum that used that coding for quotes.

  • underwriter's laboratory||

    who shot who in the what now?

  • yonemoto||

    The Libertarian message is the same as always.

    What? Can you not read?

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/05.....nt_2279476

  • Shorter Danny||

    "Being popular is better than being correct."

  • ||

    It's unfortunate that libertarians aren't either one.

  • Shorter||

    HURR DURR

  • ||

    RomneyCare, ObamaCare, they are both the same - buying votes with money from "the rich".

    There isn't a nickels worth of difference between both schemes - we can't afford either nor the clowns that cooked up these schemes....

  • ||

    The most important moment of the entire 2012 election race thus far is happening this Thursday! http://mittromneycentral.com/2.....day-51211/ Let's get this thing started! We can't spend any more time on fools like Trump if we're going to be serious about beating President Obama! I can't wait for Thursday!

  • JoshINHB||

    I can't wait to hear the profound banalities of the supreme varmint hunter Mutt the Romnunist.

    Douchebag.

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