Mitt Romney

Massachusetts provides preview of ObamaCare

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to show us why ObamaCare is headed for failure:

The future of US medicine under ObamaCare is already on display in Massachusetts. The top four health insurers there just posted first-quarter losses of more than $150 million. Most of them blamed the state’s decision to keep premiums at last year’s levels for individual and small-business policies, when they’d proposed double-digit hikes to match the soaring costs they’ve seen under the state’s universal-coverage law.

The companies have gone to court to challenge the state’s action — it apparently had no basis for its ruling beyond the political needs of Gov. Deval Patrick. If they win, Bay State health premiums will continue their rapid rise; if they lose, they’ll eventually have to stop doing business in Massachusetts — and the state will be that much closer to a “single payer” system of socialized medicine.

The Massachusetts “health reform” disease means more than just bureaucrats setting prices. It also includes rising government spending and taxes; politicians demonizing doctors, hospitals and insurers — and patients getting lectured that the restrictions of managed care are good medicine.

It’s what’s in store for all of America. The Bay State’s structure provided the base for ObamaCare. “Basically, it’s the same thing,” says MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a health adviser to GOP Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama.

Like ObamaCare, RomneyCare includes a government-run exchange (the “Commonwealth Connector”), mandates and fines on individuals and fines on businesses. It expanded coverage mainly by expanding Medicaid. Of the 176,766 insured through the Connector, more than 152,000 are on subsidized plans, most paying nothing.

Marco Rubio gets RomneyCare wrong

Marco Rubio, who just received an endorsement from Mitt Romney, says that there are differences between the health care plan passed in Massachusetts and ObamaCare:

Rubio suggested in the interview that the mandate in Romney’s plan is more palatable because it is a state-driven solution, instead of a federal plan forced on the states.

“All I would say to you is that states were designed to be laboratories for creative thoughts and ideas,” Rubio said. “That’s what the Framers of our great republic intended. They wanted the states to be the places that came up with innovation and competition.”

Rubio, accusing the president of taking a step toward single-payer system, said there are “major distinctions between what’s happening in Washington and what I hope states will do.”

He also echoed familiar Romney arguments on how the Massachusetts plan differs from the Obama plan.

“There are major distinctions between that and what Obama is trying to do in Washington,” Rubio said. “For one, it didn’t raise any taxes. Number two, it is not adding to our deficit. That is my biggest objection to Obamacare, although there are many others. My number-one objection to Obamacare is that we can’t afford it, even if it was the greatest idea in the world.”

Politically speaking, it doesn’t matter whether it was a state solution or not. The fact of the matter is that RomneyCare was a foundation to the plan passed by Congress last month. There are, of course, some arbitrary differences, but it’s the same concept.

Also, Democrats do not recognize the Tenth Amendment, neither do Republicans for that matter (see the Bush presidency). So, the claim that “states were designed to be laboratories for creative thoughts and ideas” rings hollow because that doesn’t matter to Democrats.

Cato Institute: RomneyCare is ObamaCare

Mitt Romney has been one of the many Republicans criticizing ObamaCare, however, his own health care reform plan, passed by Massachusetts in 2006, is a lot like health care reform passed at the national level.

In this new video from the Cato Institute, David Boaz and Michael Cannon (who we did a podcast with last month) explain why Romney is probably not someone conservatives and Republicans want leading the charge to repeal ObamaCare.

Republicans Faced With A Weak Field For 2012

Republican activists who attended the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this past weekend don’t seem too thrilled with the 2012 contenders they saw:

NEW ORLEANS — Southern Republicans wrapped up a three-day meeting in New Orleans on Saturday unified in fervent opposition to President Barack Obama, but wide open at this early stage about whom they want to challenge him in 2012.

Party activists at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference cheered potential presidential candidates such as Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, as well as absentee Mitt Romney.

But they also readily volunteered objections to the same names: Gingrich has personal baggage, Palin’s too inexperienced, Romney pushed Obama-like health care while governor of Massachusetts and Pawlenty lacks charisma.

Given those commonly heard objections among rank-and-file party workers, it appears that no potential Republican candidate can yet claim to be the heir apparent and the race could be wide open.

Everyone one of them has flaws, some of them, like Palin, flaws that make the prospect of being able to win a General Election seem remote at best. However, this is the field the GOP has and, while others may come along over the coming year, there isn’t going to be a GOP superstar:

Maybe Sarah Palin Can Win The 2012 GOP Nomination

One blogger details how it could happen, quite plausibly:

National polling for the Republican nomination has consistently shown Palin in a roughly three-way tie  with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.  However:

Young Americans, businesses get the short end of ObamaCare

Young Americans will feel the bite of ObamaCare through increased premiums and the individual mandate, according to the Associated Press:

Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.

Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That’s when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.

The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years.

Yes, there will be subsidies, which the AP calls “tax credits,” but as we’ve seen in Massachusetts (**sigh** damn you, Mitt Romney) they haven’t helped keep down the cost of insurance.

As I noted on Monday, ObamaCare is going to hit businesses hard, and yesterday we saw another business, Medtronic, note the cost of compliance with the new regulations and taxes.

Massachusetts Treasurer blasts state health care plan, a model for ObamaCare

We are told that ObamaCare will bring down costs and reduce the budget deficit and all these other wonderful things. Supporters of the bill need only look to Massachusetts to see how wrong they are in those claims.

Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill, a Democrat turned independent, says the health care reform law that passed in his state in 2006 is breaking the budget. He also took some shots at health care “reform” efforts on the national level, which are very similar to the Massachusetts plan:

“If President Obama and the Democrats repeat the mistake of the health insurance reform here in Massachusetts on a national level, they will threaten to wipe out the American economy within four years,” Cahill said in a press conference in his office.

Echoing criticism leveled by congressional Republicans in recent weeks, Cahill said, “It is time for the president, the Democratic leadership, to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that does not threaten to bankrupt this country.”
Cahill said the law is being sustained only with the help of federal aid, which he suggested that the Obama administration is funneling to Massachusetts to help the president make the case for a similar plan in Congress.

“The real problem is the sucking sound of money that has been going in to pay for this health care reform,” Cahill said. “And I would argue that we’re being propped up so that the federal government and the Obama administration can drive it through” Congress.

Romney defends the Massachusetts health care plan, the basis for ObamaCare

Mitt Romney is still parading the health care reform bill passed in Massachusetts when he was Governor as “the ultimate conservative plan”:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney insisted on Sunday that the health care reform plan he implemented in Massachusetts had no similarity to the one President Obama is championing, in part because Romney’s was state-based and Obama’s is a national overhaul.
Romney refused to acknowledge that his plan was similar to Obama’s. Though, as host Chris Wallace point out, on many key measures — an individual and employer mandate, subsidies for those who would have trouble buying insurance, and minimum standards for coverage — the two plans converged. The likely 2012 presidential candidate pointed out that the president’s plan included cuts to Medicare and additional taxes. But both of those measures are designed, in part, to provide funds to keep per capita spending down — something that the Massachusetts plan failed to do. Finally, Romney touted the fact that his plan included “no controls over insurance premiums, price controls,” which provides some explanation for why premiums in the Bay State are the highest in the nation.

Andy Roth from the Club for Growth disputes this notion:

The individual mandate is diametrically against what free-market conservatives believe in than I think he is in the wrong party.

BREAKING: Ron Paul wins CPAC presidential straw poll

That is the word from Politico. According to several sources, the results were met with boos from attendees of CPAC, which again shows that conservatives are still not welcoming to libertarians despite what Ronald Reagan said about the correlation between the two philosophies (“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”).

In case you’re wondering, Mitt Romney won each of the last three CPAC straw polls (2007, 2008 and 2009).

Here are the full results:

  • Ron Paul: 31%
  • Mitt Romney: 22%
  • Sarah Palin: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Mike Pence: 5%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Mike Huckabee: 4%
  • Mitch Daniels: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • John Thune: 2%
  • Haley Barbour: 1%
  • Other: 5%
  • Undecided: 6%

Boaz on CPAC and the state of conservatism

David Boaz, Vice President of the Cato Institute, doesn’t seem to be encouraged by the state of conservatism by the sights and sounds from CPAC:

What did tell me something very disturbing about the state of conservatism was Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC. It was a well-written and well-delivered speech, and I agreed with much of what I heard on C-SPAN Radio. But after all the talk about how Republicans have learned their lessons, how they know that they went badly awry during the Bush-Hastert-DeLay years, Romney drew cheers for saying, “I am convinced that history will judge President Bush far more kindly—he pulled us from a deepening recession following the attack of 9-11, he overcame teachers unions to test school children and evaluate schools, he took down the Taliban, waged a war against the jihadists and was not afraid to call it what it is—a war, and he kept us safe.” And then he drew wild, foot-stomping cheers for going on: “I respect his silence even in the face of the assaults on his record that come from this administration. But at the same time, I also respect the loyalty and indefatigable defense of truth that comes from our “I don’t give a damn” Vice President Dick Cheney!” (Text )

I am reminded that in February 2008, after seven disastrous years of overspending, federal intrusion, entitlement expansion, civil liberties abuses, and foundering wars, President Bush spoke at CPAC, and the assembled conservatives greeted him with chants of “Four More Years!”

Really? You wanted more of that? And you’re still cheering it in 2010?

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