Monday, January 30, 2012

RomneyCare and ObamaCare: one in the same

Some may say it's campaign rhetoric when either Santorum or Gingrich say 'RomneyCare and ObamaCare are essentially the same', but let's take a closer examination referencing a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.  Yes, even the more establishment-prone publication is capable of expressing moments of clarity from time to time; and in commenting on Rick Santorum's debate performance Thursday night, Grace-Marie Turner writes, "Rick Santorum went for the jugular...exposing Mitt Romney's weak and contradictory defense of his Massachusetts health-reform law." Santorum scored in a big way against the Massachusetts moderate.

Mr. Santorum attacked Mr. Romney's claim that the individual mandate affects only "the 8% of people who didn't have insurance." Mr. Romney insisted that "92% of the people in my state had insurance before our plan went in place. And nothing changes for them."

Mr. Santorum blasted back that "what Governor Romney said is just factually incorrect," because the mandate affects 100% of the residents who are forced to buy health insurance "as a condition of breathing in Massachusetts."

Turner goes on to dissect Romney's insistent defense of the Massachusetts healthcare program, and finds at every turn, Romney is being dishonest about it. The state's health-insurance mandate determines the amount of health insurance one can afford, "not, unfortunately, from your perspective but from the state agency's view," as one government official tells WSJ.

Also, the boasting that RomneyCare didn't cut $500 billion out of Medicare like ObamaCare did is an empty argument, as the states have no authority over those cuts, which reveals that cutting Medicare was never an option with RomneyCare. However, Turner explains that the state did indeed pass a large share of its costs on to federal taxpayers by relying on previously enacted state health-insurance taxes infused with federal Medicaid money to finance expanded coverage.

And remember that new study that Santorum cited in Thursday's debate after the one-term governor claimed that RomneyCare is "very different" from ObamaCare? Turner reveals that this study came from the liberal Families USA, "which credits John McDonough and explains he "was deeply involved" in developing both RomneyCare and ObamaCare."

Among the key checkpoints showing the similarities between the two plans: "RomneyCare authorizes 'tiers' of insurance coverage, which are called Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Young Adult . . . ObamaCare sets the following tiers for policies: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Young Adult." And government will specify which benefits must be included in health plans under both reform laws. Mr. McDonough earlier said the federal law is "Massachusetts with three more zeros."

As to Romney's states' rights argument, Turner points out Romney's quick inclination to give states more discretion in implementing ObamaCare, echoing Obama's own position. As Mark Levin explained in Monday's opening monologue, Santorum (and to Paul's credit as well) has never supported the individual mandate, and Gingrich, who once supported it (along with Heritage mind you), no longer supports the individual mandate. Yet to this very day, Romney continues to defend the state's individual mandate. Whether on the state level or the federal, a mandate forcing someone to purchase something under penalty of law is wrong at its core. Allow me to echo Santorum's passionate plea: "Folks, we can't give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom."

Romney has backed himself into a corner with his insistent defense of the top-down, government-run MA healthcare program, and as Turner concludes, "Unless Mr. Romney takes steps to conform his position with reality, he will have trouble convincing voters he is serious about repeal and will have an even harder time mapping a clear plan on health reform should he be elected president." Arguably, a Romney nomination will in affect 'give this issue away'. Do Republican primary voters really want to jump on this bandwagon? I implore all to consider more wisely. Don't sell your principles short to risk a lifetime of living through this, knowing you had an opportunity to rollback this imposition...

ADDENDUM: Betsy McCaughey has an in-depth piece that's definitely worth checking out over at NewsMax showing the identical nature of both healthcare laws, which share: an individual mandate, an employer mandate, mandatory electronic records, a comparative effectiveness research board, an end of life program, and facilitate medical homes.

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