Mitt Romney is no conservative. He's a progressive.
The former Massachusetts governor enacted something very similar to the Obama health plan. It isn't working well.
Former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 presidential aspirant Mitt Romney has been on the wrong side of the defining political battle of our time.
Mr. Romney claimed earlier this month on "Fox News Sunday" that the Massachusetts health reform plan he signed into law in 2006 is "the ultimate conservative plan." But there are many similarities between it and the ObamaCare loathed by conservative voters.
Both have an individual mandate requiring most residents to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Most businesses are required to participate or pay a fine. Both rely on government-designed purchasing exchanges that also provide a platform to control private health insurance. Many of the uninsured are covered through Medicaid expansion and others receive subsidies for highly-prescriptive policies. And the apparatus requires a plethora of new government boards and agencies.
Yes, you read that correctly. Mitt Romney believes that his socialized health care scheme, one that is virtually the same as ObamaCare, is "the ultimate conservative plan."
I'd be laughing if so many people didn't take this guy so seriously.
Mr. Romney's promise that getting everyone covered would force costs down also is far from being realized. One third of state residents polled by Harvard researchers in a study published in "Health Affairs" in 2008 said that their health costs had gone up as a result of the 2006 reforms. A typical family of four today faces total annual health costs of nearly $13,788, the highest in the country. Per capita spending is 27% higher than the national average.
The state's stubbornly high health costs are partly the result of intrusive government regulations that stifle competition in the insurance market and strict mandates on what services insurance must cover. A 2008 study by the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy found that the state's most expensive insurance mandates cost patients more than $1 billion between July 2004 and July 2005. The Massachusetts health reform law left all of them in place.
Like his progressive counterpart in the White House, Romney promised that socialism would bring costs down. Oops. Got that wrong. Massachusetts residents now pay the highest rates in the country!
Does "intrusive government regulations that stifle competition in the insurance market and strict mandates" sound conservative to you? Because it smells like socialism if you ask me.
But hey, what do I know ... I'm one of those "independent thinkers" Mitt Romney warned you about.
Some Massachusetts safety-net hospitals that treat a disproportionate number of lower-income and uninsured patients are threatening bankruptcy. They still are treating a large number of people without health insurance, but the payments they receive for uncompensated care have been cut under the reform deal.
The Bay State is also suffering from what the Massachusetts Medical Society calls a "critical shortage" of primary-care physicians. As one would expect, expanded insurance has caused an increase in demand for medical services. But there hasn't been a corresponding increase in the number of doctors. As a result, many patients are insured in name only: They have health coverage but can't find a doctor.
Those pesky laws of economics always get in the way of socialism ... hospitals going bankrupt, a shortage of doctors ... Who'd a thunk it?
Fifty-six percent of Massachusetts internal medicine physicians no longer are accepting new patients, according to a 2009 physician work-force study conducted by the Massachusetts Medical Society. For new patients who do get an appointment with a primary-care doctor, the average waiting time is 44 days, the Medical Society found.
As Dr. Sandra Schneider, the vice president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told the Boston Globe last April, "Just because you have insurance doesn't mean there's a [primary care] physician who can see you."
What? Waiting lines? C'mon now ... Must be a typo. Then again, what's a mere 44 day wait?
Very, very conservative indeed, Mr. Romney. You liar.
Mitt Romney is not conservative. He's a progressive.