My assessment of the treatment of RomneyCare: It is preposterous that people are so unknowledgeable about this law and that they are so vehemently opposed to it, especially when it is totally based on conservative principles. Those who are hateful and ignorant are, as Pogo said, "the enemy", the enemy of reason and the enemy of progress and all that is right - no matter the cloak they pretend to wear! Will those people look deeper or are they permanently going to be engaged in doing damage?
If I were a Republican, I would be ashamed of being associated with such people.
Bottomline Quote Excerpts
"Like it or don't like it, this idea, currently known as Romneycare, was the brainchild of Conservatism." OCare Isn't RCare
- Those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there.
- Transfomative Massachusetts health care reform plan
- Wildly inaccurate interpretations of the bill and its likely effects...
- … to allow people to go without health insurance, and then when they do fall ill expect someone else to pay the tab for their treatment is a de facto mandate on providers and taxpayers. Romney proposes to take that option off the table, leaving only two choices: Either buy insurance or pay for your own care. Not an unreasonable position, and one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.
- To convert subsidies now paid to hospitals for treating the uninsured into subsidies for the low-income uninsured to buy health insurance. The objectives are expanded coverage, greater consumer choice and satisfaction, value-focused competition among insurers and providers, and ultimately a reduced burden on the state's taxpayers. The key to the Massachusetts plan is a new way of organizing the marketplace to enable consumers to compare and purchase health insurance plans.
- ...Consumer choice of plans, true coverage portability, and the functional equivalent of individual health-insurance tax credits to help pay for coverage.
Newt Gingrich: "Tremendous potential to effect major change..." "We agree entirely...goal should be 100 percent coverage" "free riders undermine the entire health system"
TO SOLVE A PROBLEM AND HEAD OFF A WORSE SOLUTION
Uninsured Massachusetts residents commonly utilize emergency rooms as a source of primary care. The United States Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) in 1986.
In November 2004, political leaders began advocating for major reforms of the Massachusetts health care insurance system to expand coverage. First, the Senate President Robert Travaglini called for a plan to reduce the number of uninsured by half. A few days later, the Governor, Mitt Romney, announced that he would propose a plan to cover virtually all of the uninsured.
Location, meeting: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium, Jan 26, 2006
Governor Mitt Romney has been working with the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a comprehensive, market-based reform program for health care. This Plan creatively uses an 1115 Waiver to bring affordable private health insurance products to all uninsured residents of the Commonwealth. The cornerstone for this reform is a personal responsibility principle. The Plan establishes a health insurance exchange to enable individuals to purchase health insurance on a pre-tax basis. The Plan also focuses on restraining the growth in heath care costs by empowering consumers and making healthcare service and cost information more easily available. Please join us as Governor Romney reviews this transfomative Massachusetts health care reform plan Notice
Understanding Key Parts Of The Massachusetts Health Plan
Any comprehensive plan to reform health care will contain complex, and likely contentious, provisions. The recently enacted Massachusetts plan, based on a proposal by Governor Mitt Romney, is no exception. It contains complex provisions that have raised questions and concerns. But much of this controversy stems from confusion about the provisions. Therefore, understanding these provisions, especially in the context of the larger reform, is important.
Governor Romney sought a way to prevent the free-rider problem: those who take advantage of emergency services skip out on the charges, leaving taxpayers to cover the bill. Romney proposed that state residents either purchase health insurance or, if they chose not to do so, "self insure" by posting a $10,000 bond that could be put towards the cost of any hospital care they might use but be unable to afford. The Democrat-controlled legislature rejected the Governor's proposal and forced on state residents a different choice: buy health insurance or pay a fine.
The Governor's original proposal did not include an employer mandate. The Governor vetoed this provision under his line-item veto authority, but the legislature will likely vote to reinstate it.
In this legislation, however, Governor Romney was able to achieve some deregulationof the health insurance market. While more deregulation is desirable, with the state's political and regulatory climates, Romney's changes constitute significant progress.
The cornerstone of the new plan is an innovative mechanism to promote real consumer choice. The Connector is a new market mechanism that will enable small-business employees and individuals to buy personal, portable health insurance of their choice, outside the place of work, without losing the tax benefits afforded by federal law to employer-sponsored coverage. The Connector is a major innovation and a model for other states.
States are taking the lead in health care reform, and Massachusetts' new system includes important innovations.
Comprehensive health care reform is difficult, especially in a divisive political environment. The Massachusetts plan is not perfect. It contains some unwise features that reflect the state's liberal politics, though these are not as damaging as they might initially appear. But the plan also includes several creative policy innovations that move towards the goal of a consumer-based health system and that other states should watch closely.
Last week the Massachusetts legislature passed comprehensive health care reform legislation almost a year after Governor Romney first proposed the key elements of a reform strategy. But in focusing on those items, most reporters and commentators have missed the truly significant and transformative health system changes that the legislation would set in motion.
Some commentators, by getting wrong even the most basic facts of what the legislation actually does, have offered wildly inaccurate interpretations of the bill and its likely effects.
In reality, the legislation is designed to restructure and (partially) deregulate Massachusetts's small-group and non-group health insurance markets and to convert subsidies now paid to hospitals for treating the uninsured into subsidies for the low-income uninsured to buy health insurance. The objectives are expanded coverage, greater consumer choice and satisfaction, value-focused competition among insurers and providers, and ultimately a reduced burden on the state's taxpayers. The key to the Massachusetts plan is a new way of organizing the marketplace to enable consumers to compare and purchase health insurance plans.
The first major element of the Massachusetts legislation is the creation of a new, statewide health insurance 'Connector.' The Connector will be a private (state-government chartered) marketplace where individuals and workers in businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be able to purchase personal, portable health insurance coverage.
This concept of organizing a state's insurance markets around a central clearinghouse represents a dramatic departure from recent state health insurance reform proposals. States have spent the past 15 years trying to expand health care coverage to small-business employees, with virtually no positive results. The Massachusetts legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to move away from the policies that have largely failed to make progress in covering the uninsured for the past 15 years.
The outcome of the negotiations will be significant beyond the state of Massachusetts.
The policy precedent set by the Massachusetts experiment is particularly important, and the terms of any waiver renewal will either confirm or undermine an important policy shift that should also occur in the rest of the country.
The path-breaking reform, which was to shift state and federal tax dollars from subsidizing institutions to subsidizing people.
'Based on this and current Conservative reasoning, it is doubtful that the Heritage Foundation is conservative, and they may be like that liberal Romney character' - Parody statement of how ridiculous it would be to call Romney 'not conservative' despite using conservative principles!
We zeroed in on the notion that the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that is no fan of Obama's health care law as a whole, might have "originated" the idea of the health insurance exchange -- a virtual marketplace where individuals can purchase health insurance. Our interest only grew after we received an e-mail from Heritage president Ed Feulner that blasted Obama's claim.
"President Obama this morning cited the Heritage Foundation's research in an attempt to sell his health care package as a 'middle-of-the-road, centrist approach,'" Feulner wrote. "We take great exception to this misuse of our work and abuse of our name. This is but the latest act in a campaign to sell this big-government program as a moderate law that incorporates conservative ideas. Americans should not be fooled."
Feulner went on to argue that "the president knows full well — or he ought to learn before he speaks — that the exchanges we and most others support are very different from those in his package. True exchanges are simply a market mechanism to enable families to choose their health insurance. President Obama’s exchanges, by contrast, are a vehicle to introduce sweeping regulation and federal standardization on health insurance."
"The version of the exchange we did develop couldn't be more different than that embodied in this law." He charged that "the Obama health-care law 'builds' on the Heritage health reform model only in the sense that, say, a double-quarter-pounder with cheese 'builds' on the idea of a garden salad. Both have lettuce and tomato and may be called food, but the similarities end there."
Specifically, Haislmaier wrote that "this concept of organizing a state's insurance markets around a central clearinghouse represents a dramatic departure from recent state health insurance reform proposals. States have spent the past 15 years trying to expand health care coverage to small-business employees, with virtually no positive results. The Massachusetts legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to move away from the policies that have largely failed to make progress in covering the uninsured for the past 15 years."
We feel the president is largely right on this point. The idea for exchanges may have "originated" outside Heritage, but in well over a decade leading up to the introduction of the president's health care plan, Heritage clearly took a high-profile role in touting it, culminating in the proposal enacted in Massachusetts.
argued that the (ObamaCare) plan now enacted into law is fundamentally different in structure than the one Heritage advocated.
"What Obama and Capitol Hill did was to take a mainstream idea and push it toward a much more interventionist, regulatory model, as opposed to the original idea, which was more market-based," Butler said in an interview.
"In the policy world, there is often a vast gulf between theoretical ideas and policies as implemented, and this case is no exception," Troy said. "While Heritage had been a leading advocate for health insurance exchanges, the law as written creates something so different from what Heritage sought that I understand why they want to remove their name from the list of proponents."
acknowledged that Obama's statement was so carefully worded that the president "was able to exploit" the issue "for his own ends."
We agree with Heritage that the differences between its original vision and the version enacted into law are not trivial, and are enough to undercut the president's effort to secure a Heritage Foundation seal of approval for his bill.
Following the reasoning that RomneyCare's conservative ideas (originally applauded by Conservatives) was copied to produce ObamaCare, it stands to reason that the Heritage Foundation is responsible for ObamaCare - they're the bad guys, surely. Or is there something wrong with this "guilt by association" with one concept making someone responsible for something that totally misuses it?
It can be difficult to remember now, given the ferocity with which many Republicans assail it as an attack on freedom, but the provision in President Obama’s health care law requiring all Americans to buy health insurance has its roots in conservative thinking.
The concept that people should be required to buy health coverage was fleshed out more than two decades ago by a number of conservative economists, embraced by scholars at conservative research groups, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and championed, for a time, by Republicans in the Senate.
The individual mandate, as it is known, was seen then as a conservative alternative to some of the health care approaches favored by liberals — like creating a national health service or requiring employers to provide health coverage.
Some conservatives originally saw the individual mandate as a way to make certain that uninsured people who became ill or were injured — but were still entitled by law to medical treatment — did not push the cost of their care onto others.
“If a young man wrecks his Porsche and has not had the foresight to obtain insurance, we may commiserate, but society feels no obligation to repair his car,” Stuart Butler, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said in a 1989 lecture on how to ensure affordable health care for all Americans. “But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance.”
Part of Mr. Butler’s solution back then? “Mandate all households to obtain adequate insurance.”
To combat President Clinton’s proposal, a large group of Republican senators, including the minority leader at the time, Bob Dole, and several who are still in office, proposed a bill that would have required individuals, and not employers, to buy insurance.
Later: The Heritage Foundation has taken pains to distance itself from its past support of an individual mandate: it wrote a court amicus brief noting its change of heart, and Mr. Butler wrote an op-ed article in USA Today this month headlined “Don’t blame Heritage for ‘ObamaCare’ mandate.”
Those who want to create a consumer-based health system and deregulate health insurance should view Romney's plan as one of the most promising strategies out there. I know, because I've been part of the Heritage Foundation team advising the governor and his staff on the design, which builds on some of my work with officials in other states.
The overall design has two basic parts: reforming the state's insurance market structure and reforming its uncompensated-care payment system...
The Romney approach is ... a state health-insurance exchange ... exactly what stock exchanges do for the buying and selling of securities. Like a stock or commodity exchange, Romney's health-insurance exchange would be a clearinghouse but never a product regulator.
The exchange would be a single place where a small employer could send its workers to buy coverage, paid for with a defined contribution from the employer. For workers, it would be a "marketplace" in which to choose the plans that best suited them and which they could keep as they moved from job to job. Furthermore, the exchange is designed to ensure that premium payments by both employers and workers can be made on a pre-tax basis.
Such an exchange offers numerous advantages. For example, a two-earner couple could combine contributions from their respective employers to buy and keep the plan they want, instead of being forced to choose one employer's plan while forgoing the subsidy offered by the other employer. Similarly, a worker with two part-time jobs could combine pro-rated contributions from each employer to buy coverage, while the government would have a single place to send subsidies for those who need extra help.
In short, the exchange is designed to work around the limitations of current federal law to achieve, in a single state, the basic objectives of conservative health reform — consumer choice of plans, true coverage portability, and the functional equivalent of individual health-insurance tax credits to help pay for coverage...
''Arianna Huffington, a CNN Pipeline analyst and Democratic activist, was impressed with Governor Romney's answer on health care. She thinks the Democrats may have reason to worry.
"This is his advantage, he can speak well on a strong Democratic issue like health care," Huffington said.
GINGRICH PRAISES OF ROMNEYCARE
"The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system," said an April 2006 newsletter published by Gingrich's former consulting company, the Center for Health Transformation.
“We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans,’’ the newsletter said. “Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance, and simply choose not to, place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers.’’
"The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system," reads "Newt Notes" from Gingrich's former consulting company, the Center For Health Transformation
"While the Commonwealth's plan will naturally endure tremendous scrutiny from those who assert that the law will not work as intended, Massachusetts leaders are to be commended for this bipartisan proposal to tackle the enormous challenge of finding real solutions for creating a sustainable health system."
And, all of a sudden:
"We believe that there should be must-carry, that everybody should have health insurance, or if you’re an absolute libertarian, we would allow you to post a bond, but we would not allow people to be “free riders” failing to insure themselves and then showing up in the emergency room with no means of payment. If you have must carry, then the insurance companies have told us that we can have must-issue, and you will therefore have a system in which you don’t have to worry about cherry-picking and maneuvering. … This is the kind of general model we will be advocating.
In a conference call hosted by Siemens Healthcare months after President Obama's inauguration
He also spoke out in favor of a federal requirement for every American to buy health insurance or to set aside a significant sum for the purpose of future health care spending, as you can hear in the excerpts of the conference call excerpted in the video above.
Well, here you have it: not only has Gingrich been a long-standing proponent of a federal health insurance mandate, he clearly and unequivocally called for it as part of the White House health reform initiative in May 2009.
Not only did Gingrich make the "conservative" argument for the mandate in dealing with the free rider problem, he also advanced a favorite argument of the left. Which is that the only way insurers could be required to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their health status ("must issue"), was to require everyone to carry insurance. This was ultimately the argument which convinced none other than Barack Obama, who remember, opposed an individual mandate during the Democrat primary campaign in 2008.
A July 22, 2005, Hotline article on one of the duo's events described the former speaker as endorsing not just state-based mandates (the linchpin of Romney's Massachusetts law) but "some federal mandates" as well.
Gingrich said it was "fundamentally immoral" for a person to go without coverage, show up at an emergency room and demand free care. (Free care was mandated by a law passed under Reagan.)
address to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council's annual Health Trends Conference in April 2006, Gingrich said he would require Americans earning above a certain income level to buy health insurance or post a bond,
[A bond, as Haislmaier noted, is exactly what Romney initially proposed while he was governor of Massachusetts. Romney ended up signing off on a more traditional mandate only after it was passed by the state legislature. For that signature, Romney now faces a major trust deficit among conservatives. In advance of his Thursday speech, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial calling him Obama's "running mate," a candidate who was at once "compromised and not credible." When Romney signed his bill into law, the Associated Press published a story titled " Mass. Health Care Plan Riles Some Liberals." In it, John Sweeney, the then-president of the AFL-CIO -- the labor federation which has become a defender of the individual mandate -- decried the idea that "workers were being forced to purchase health care coverage or face higher taxes." ]
Personal responsibility extends to the purchase of health insurance. Citizens should not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they need it." An "individual mandate," he added, should be applied "when the larger health-care system has been fundamentally changed."
Falsehood: Gingrich says Mitt Romney Enacted Taxpayer-funded abortions.
Did Mitt Romney make taxpayer-funded abortion the law of the land in Massachusetts?
That’s one claim in an attack ad put out by Newt Gingrich’s campaign, which says Romney called himself "pro-life" but "governed pro-abortion."
"Romney signed government-mandated health care with taxpayer funded abortions," the ad says, as a downcast Romney appears onscreen, along with his signature.
However, Politifact.com found "abortion" is nowhere to be found in the law.. The courts forced it into law.
It was included by the state exchange, which created plans that mirror private insurance nationwide.