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.


  1. Another HUGELY important difference is that Romney FIRST balanced the state budget. Even though his plan did not increase taxes or "break the bank," he ensured that the state was on solid financial footing BEFORE entertaining the idea of additional support. Obamacare came right out of the shoot on top of enormous debt and national financial hardship and DOES increase taxes and debt. The financial difference between these two situations is HUGE.

  2. Thank you for pointing out that major difference. I plan on revising this post and adding more differences between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

    And I kindly request that you tell other people to become fans of this blog. ;)

  3. These are all wonderful and important points, but these arguments will not convince my liberal relatives that ObamaCare should not have passed.

  4. This was a fantastic resource! Thank you very much for your research and candor.