Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Defense Of RomneyCare (Updated: 4/4/11)

President Obama has claimed that his health care plan is a lot like Mitt Romney's health care plan. This charge against RomneyCare has come from both liberals and conservatives. This is false. They are not the same for at least three crucial reasons:
1. RomneyCare is NOT the Same as ObamaCare
A simplistic description of the differences between the President's health care plan and Mitt Romney's plan is this: 
ObamaCare provides coverage to the citizens via the Unites States Government.
RomneyCare provides coverage to the citizens via private sector even if government pays for it.
A more detailed analysis of why RomneyCare is Not ObamaCare is that  ObamaCare seeks to provide universal coverage via the United States government. This is nothing more than a takeover of 1/6th of the American economy.
In contrast, those covered in Massachusetts are covered through the private sector.  The only federal involvement in Mitt’s entire health care plan is that RomneyCare takes Medicaid funds and state money that was applied for emergency rooms and simply redirected that money to allow the poor to buy private health insurance so that tax payers don’t are not footing the bill for those people who are with out insurance and who go to the emergency room.

Thus, even though the person receives financial assistance from the government, they are getting coverage from a private insurer. Other than that small sliver of federal funding, RomneyCare relies on free market principles. There is no state government take over of health care. 
2. RomneyCare was passed with Bipartisan support, ObamaCare Wasn't. 
What people forget is that the people of Mass wanted RomneyCare. Only TWO members of the House and Senate voted against it. TWO. Moreover, RomneyCare passed without any backroom deals, no voting gimmicks such as "deem and pass" and it was done in a bipartisan fashion.
The same cannot be said for ObamaCare.  It passed almost on party lines with all of the Republicans voting no and only 32 Democrats voting against it. But what is worse is that it was passed against the will of the American people.

3. Romney's plan is popular with its citzens, ObamaCare is not supported by the American People
ObamaCare was never popular before or after it passed Congress. After the passage of Obama’s health care plan, a national movement grew to repeal the program.
In contrast, RomneyCare has alwasy been popular.
In 2008, a poll found the following facts:
Two years after the implementation of a health care reform law aimed at providing health coverage for nearly all Massachusetts residents, public support for the law remains high. According to a new poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, over two-thirds (69%) of Massachusetts residents support the law. Just over one in five (22%) oppose the law and approximately one in ten (9%) say they do not know enough about it to give an opinion. Since the law's passage in 2006, public support has increased slightly (69% in 2008 compared to 67% in 2007 and 61% in 2006). (Source.)
RomneyCare is still popular with the citizens of Massachusetts. consider the most recent poll:
"A poll conducted this week by The Washington Post of 880 Massachusetts residents who said they voted in the special election found that 68 percent support the Massachusetts plan. Even among Brown voters, slightly more than half backed the 2006 law.” (Source.) 
Unlike ObamaCare, there is no statewide movement to repeal RomneyCare.

4. Differences In Cost

Before Mitt Romney began his ambitious plan to make health care affordable for the citizens of Massachusetts, he balanced the state budget. This was to ensure that Massachusetts was in good financial health before reform was to begin. Moreover, RomneyCare was projected to cost less than 1.5% of the state budget and has fallen well within its original forecast today. (Source.)

This stands in stark contrast with President Obama who did not ensure that the country was financial sound before pushing ObamaCare through Congress in the midst of a recession, a staggering national debt and high unemployment. Now that ObamaCare has been passed, it estimated to cost the nation 2 trillion dollars. It is worth noting that the CBO estimates have always underestimated the actual cost of every entitlement program it has ever been asked to review.

5. ObamaCare is unconstitutional. RomneyCare is constitutional.
On the issue of constitutionality, the distinction between RomneyCare and ObamaCare has been pointed out over at Evangelicals for Mitt:
"the states and the federal governments have different constitutional powers. States have a general "police power," which allows them to pass laws to advance the health, safety, and (traditionally) morals of the community. The federal government is limited to its enumerated powers. Constitutional critics of Obamacare ask a common-sense question: Where in the enumerated powers of the Constitution is the federal government empowered to require citizens to purchase a product from a private entity?"
6. Complexity v. Simplicity

ObamaCare is a 2,000 page monstrosity. RomneyCare is only about 70 pages long. A simple side by comparison demonstrates this fundamental difference between the two health care plans.

7. ObamaCare Introduces Cuts to Medicaid and Social Security, RomneyCare doesn't.

Our plan did not cut Medicaid or Medicare. Obamacare will divert $1.1 trillion away from Medicare, which is barely solvent as is.


8. ObamaCare raised taxes, RomneyCare introduced no new taxes.

Higher taxes on individuals and businesses were not part of Mitt Romney's plan whereas approximately $1 trillion in higher taxes will be a huge source of revenue to fund Obamacare.

9. Obama health care plan is a federally administered plan where as RomneyCare is a health care plan only for Massachusetts.

With a state plan, citizens can vote for their feet and either stay with the program or move to another state that offers a more competitive or affordable health care plan. However, with a universal health care plan, there's no where to run. No matter what state you move to, you'll have no choice but to be covered under ObamaCare.

10. RomenyCare and ObamaCare are drastically different in terms of legislative intent.
Listen to Mitt Romney explains the intent of RomneyCare during his interview with Sean Hannity beginning at 4:30 time mark of the clip below:

As stated by Mitt in the interview, the intent of Romney's health care plan was to introduce free market principles into the state's health care system. Make it work more like a market. 
Listen to Obama's intent behind his health care plan in his interview with John Stewart on the Daily Show.  If you don't want to watch the entire thing, go to approximately the 8 minute mark and listen. Watch the video below:
As the President stated himself, the "change" in the nation's health care program was to simply make it a framework that will allow for future growth of the federal government. His example of Social Security is used to drive this point home. Social Security was initially sold as support for widows and orphanages but later the "structure" of this program blossomed into a massive entitlement program. He points out that the same is true for every progressive piece of legislation, which includes ObamaCare, in which it started out small but it was never intended to be small. It was designed to allow them to make further "progress" which is another way of saying expanding the government. The implication that Obama is making is that ObamaCare will eventually grow into a single payer program over time.
This isn't the first time Obama has admitted that he wants a single-payer system:

 If you couldn't clearly hear what he said in the above clip, here's the what Obama said when he was running for President:
“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”
11. ObamaCare puts people in jail if you don't pay, RomneyCare simply requires you to pay a fine
Both RomneyCare and ObamaCare require you to pay a fine if you don't buy health insurance. However , the big difference is that there is no jail sentence under RomneyCare while ObamaCare does. Read the law and see what it says on page 336 of ObamaCare:
"(2) SPECIAL RULES.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law—‘‘(A) WAIVER OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES.—In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure."
12.  ObamaCare pays off big business and big unions, RomneyCare doesn't.
ObamaCare is a trojan horse for political payback to unions and companies who support President Obama under the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program in which it paid $1.7 billion to big businesses and big unions. Not only does ObamaCare pay off big companies and big unions, but let us not forget that it granted waivers to big businesses and big unions too. The number of waivers that the Obama Administration has granted is over 1,000 and climbing. Granting a waiver on the basis of political payback is a form of payment since these organizations will not suffer the burden of operating under ObamaCare and will result in huge financial savings for them. In effect, these organizations are getting rewarded twice for their political loyalty. These organizations are getting money from Obama's administration and they're getting a huge financial savings by obtaining the wavier from the Obama Administration.
In contrast, unlike ObamaCare, RomneyCare does not give financial awards and waivers to big business and big unions as away of political payback for past or future political support. The agency that grants such waivers is completely independent of the Massachusetts Governor's office.
13. ObamaCare has no standard by which it grants waivers. RomneyCare has a standard by which it grants waivers. 
ObamaCare is very arbitrary in its grant of waivers because there is no open disclosure of how the decision was made to grant these waivers or on what basis it was made. So far, it appears to be made on an arbitrary basis since the Secretary of Health and Human Services and those in that department, under ObamaCare, gets to determine who gets the waivers and who doesn't
"The entire act is filled with the phrase, “The secretary shall determine” or equivalents, meaning that HHS can essentially make up and change rules as they go along.  No one knows what to expect from this vast expansion of regulatory power precisely because it’s based on executive whimsy rather than sound and objective law.  Apart from all other aspects of ObamaCare, this is the most destructive quality in regard to the rule of law — and Congress had better act to stop it from proceeding for that reason alone."
In contrast, RomneyCare does allow people to request waivers from RomneyCare on the basis of financial hardship:
Massachusetts regulators granted more exemptions last year to residents who said they could not afford the health insurance required by the state, waiving the tax penalty for more than half of those who appealed, according to state data.

Of the 2,637 people who applied, 63 percent received an exemption with 107 cases pending, up from 44 percent the previous year.
State officials said they excused the majority of waiver applicants in large part because of the protracted sour economy, which made insurance unaffordable for more people. Under the 2006 state law that requires most residents to have coverage, regulators have significant latitude to authorize waivers by taking into account factors such as a home foreclosure.
The number of people seeking exemptions in 2010 was about the same as in 2009, and state figures show that roughly 98 percent of residents were insured last year.
As a result, we know how the waivers are granted and on what basis in Massachusetts. That is a big difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stupak's 30 Pieces of Silver

Instapundit has written a post about the coincidental link between pro-life Bob Stupak's  (D-Menominee) announcement that three northern Michigan airports will receive federal funding and his switch from voting noyes for ObamaCare. Stupak switched his vote after he agreed to accept an executive order from President Barack Obama to ensure funds wouldn't be used for abortions.
As a result of Stupak's vote, the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, has announced that they are retracting their plan to honor Bob Stupak at their annual Campaign for Life Gala. 

Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser made this statement available to the public: 
"This Wednesday night is our third annual Campaign for Life Gala, where we were planning to honor Congressman Stupak for his efforts to keep abortion-funding out of health care reform-We will no longer be doing so. By accepting this deal from the most pro-abortion President in American history, Stupak has not only failed to stand strong for unborn children, but also for his constituents and pro-life voters across the country."

"Let me be clear: any representative, including Rep. Stupak, who votes for this healthcare bill can no longer call themselves 'pro-life.' The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund will not endorse, or support in any capacity, any Member of Congress who votes for this bill in any future election. Now through Election Day 2010, these representatives will learn that votes have consequences. The SBA List Candidate Fund will work tirelessly to help defeat Members who support this legislation and make sure their constituents know exactly how they voted. We will actively seek out true pro-life candidates to oppose Members who vote 'yes' on this bill, whether it be in general or primary elections. For these Members, it will be a quick downhill slide to defeat in November."
President Marjorie Dannenfelser points out that Bob Stupak's agreement for Obama's executive order on abortion in exchange for voting yes on ObamaCare was that Stupak gets nothing in selling his vote to the Democrats:
"The executive order on abortion funding does absolutely nothing to fix the problems presented by the health care reform bill that the House will vote on this evening. The very idea should offend all pro-life Members of Congress. An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President's whim, and the courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders. Most importantly, pro-abortion Representatives have admitted the executive order is meaningless."
Last night, Rep. DeGette told The Huffington Post, "If there was an executive order saying they weren't going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me."
Today, Rep. Wasserman Schultz admitted to Fox News' Megyn Kelly that "an executive order cannot change the law."
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pointed out today that "only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation."
Stupak would never trade or sell his vote for something as meaningless as a executive order.  The only way Stupak gets his pieces of silver is if he gets federal funding for three airports in his district.

ObamCare May Come Down To A Mere 5 votes

The House of "Representatives" is currently in the process of passing ObamaCare, the last stop of universal health care will not be on the President's desk but before the Supreme Court.

As stated in the previous post, Idaho passed a law instructing the Attorney General sue the Government while 37 other states are considering passing similar legislation. Two state attorney generals are taking the initiative and are not waiting for the state government to issue instructions file similar lawsuits.

It is possible that Universal health care may ultimately pass or fail by a slim margin of 5 votes. The 5 crucial voters are not members of Congress but members of the Supreme Court. ObamaCare may pass or fail by a 5-4 vote, as another controversial supreme court case did in Bush v. Gore, and will depend on what constitutional issue is brought before the Supreme Court. But it will be many years before the final votes on the Constitutionality of ObamCare is decided.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Potato Pushback: Idaho and ObamaCare

There is good news coming out of Idaho today:
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter on Wednesday became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue Congress if it passes health reforms that force residents to buy insurance. Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states nationwide.
Last week, Virginia legislators passed a measure similar to Idaho's new law, but Otter was the first state chief executive to sign such a bill, according the American Legislative Exchange Council, which created model legislation for Idaho and other states. The Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit group promotes limited government. (Source.)
It appears that a tidal wave of lawsuits is slowly forming in anticipation of the passage of ObamaCare. Not only are states pushing back but so are a handful of physicians:
The court challenge, filed on behalf of Daniel G. Anderson of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and nine prominent physicians from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, claims that President Obama "already has abused his executive powers in an effort to leverage control over the vote of key moderate Senators" and that if he is not barred from similar actions, "irreparable harm is actual and imminent."
Administration lawyers will ask Chief Judge Peter J. Messitte (Case No. 8:10-00017.PJM) to deny the doctors' injunction and dismiss the suit on the grounds that the physicians have no standing to bring the action against the Obama healthcare plan and that the issue is a "political question."  In an opposing brief Hagerstown attorney R. Martin Palmer argued that if "Obamacare" were to become law by unconstitutional means, the physicians would suffer "irreparable harm" in being forced to practice medicine "deficiently" and subject them to "arbitrary outside restraints."
At the heart of the physicians' suit is their claim that President Obama has overstepped his constitutional powers:
"Plaintiffs only seek to enjoin a particularly pernicious form of coercion and intimidation, namely the making of threats regarding the use of the President's Executive powers in ways that are adverse [to] the constituents of one or more of the members of Congress in order to pressure those members into voting for (or against) legislation.  This practice involves the use or abuse of the President's Executive powers to leverage control over the Legislative branch, thereby leading to the concentration of powers in a single branch of government that allows for the exercise of arbitrary power and tyranny." (Source.)
 Will this prayer for injunction by the Physicians be successful? We'll have to see and find out.