As part of his liberal phase when governor of Massachusetts — political principles have been ever-flexible for Romney — he orchestrated passage of legislation with eerie similarities to ObamaCare. Massachusetts mandates purchase of insurance, decides what benefits must be offered, and maintains a complex system of subsidies and penalties. Declared Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker, the two programs are "not identical, but they're certainly close kin." MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who advised both Gov. Romney and President Obama on health care, asserted: "Basically, it's the same thing."Read the rest of it to see how costs are skyrocketing and insurers are facing insolvency thanks to the plan spearheaded by Romney.
Out of either policy pride or political calculation, Romney continues to defend his approach as "a model that works." But he probably could not escape the legacy even if he wanted to. Walker wrote: "Health care was Romney's greatest achievement by so wide a margin that it's hard to know what to compare it to."
However, Romney has grown increasingly desperate to distinguish his legislation from that of Obama. The best the former can say is that his program was constitutional, since states possess the so-called "police power," allowing them to regulate most anything within their jurisdiction. In contrast, the federal government was created with only limited, enumerated powers. The Founders would never have imagined that Washington could force people to purchase health insurance under the guise of regulating "commerce among the states." (So far the federal courts have split on the issue.)
Alas, even the former governor's constitutional scruples are suspect. In 1994 he backed a federal mandate. His concern about the overweening federal government apparently was not so finely developed then.
In any case, the fact that RomneyCare is constitutional does not mean that it is wise. Americans want their president to exercise good judgment and common sense, as well as respect the office's constitutional limits. RomneyCare fails the first two standards.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Real Clear Politics has a piece on the financial disaster that Romneycare is becoming in Massachusetts: