Health care debate no friend to Mitt Romney

Politico has a story up explaining how the health care debate has hurt Mitt Romney, a likely candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2012:

Three years ago, Romney was heralded for his innovative effort to institute near-universal health care in his state. But now that the issue has emerged as a partisan fault line and the Massachusetts plan has provided some guidance for Democratic reform efforts, Romney finds himself bruised and on the defensive as the GOP rallies around opposition to President Barack Obama’s plans.

When Romney came to Washington last week to speak to social conservative activists at the annual Value Voters Summit, his potential 2012 GOP rivals chewed him up in front of the same audience over his Massachusetts legacy.
The criticism has forced Romney into the awkward political position of trying to defend his program while at the same time hitting the president for trying to institute a plan with many of the same elements.

During his Value Voters Summit speech, Romney took credit for tackling the issue, but conceded that his solution came up short.

“This Republican worked to reform health care in my own state. Not every feature of our plan is perfect, but the lesson it teaches is this,” Romney said before launching into an attack of the president’s proposal.

“We can get everyone insured, without breaking the bank and without a government option—there is no government insurance in my Massachusetts reform,” he said. “The right answer for health care is not more government, it’s less government.”

The guys over at the Cato Institute have written at length about RomneyCare and how it became the basis for reforms sought by Democrats. They warned that the individual mandate is a tax and how it would increase the cost of health insurance and be a burden on the state budget.

With his frequent position changes (including his recent flip on bailouts), which have earned him the nickname “Multiple Choice Mitt,” and RomneyCare, Mitt Romney is going to have a hard time in 2012.

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