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Tuesday, September 18, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 3:25 PM | permalink
There's some Mitt-bashing over at the AmSpec blog (Philip Klein, Jennifer Rubin, Philip Klein again, Jennifer Rubin again, and Shawn Macomber). Nothing unusual about that, but I did want to address the point being made: that Mitt's Massachusetts healthcare plan is the source of all healthcare evils these days. Certainly the Massachusetts plan is not perfect. Beyond the portions that the Massachusetts legislature passed over Mitt's veto, two basic provisions, the individual mandate and the "connector", have riled the ire of many conservative think-tanks and commentators. I think Mitt himself would agree that his plan is not perfect. Klein and Rubin especially seem to blame Mitt for even trying and thus encouraging less enlightened Democrats on the feasibility of passing such a plan.

Klein and Rubin seem to believe that Mitt's plan has done nothing to the national healthcare debate except cede ground to liberals. They forget that Mitt's plan has moved the debate on healthcare to the right of where it was. It has discredited the idea that only a single-payer system can work. It also made insurance more consumer oriented and less tied to employer choices. Mostly, I think that all the negativity directed at Mitt is misguided to say the least because of a single word, which has been at the forefront of Mitt's approach to healthcare: federalism. By federalism, I refer to the principle of states as labs of experimentation. All the debate has provided ample argument for other states to learn from and correct the flaws that are in the Massachusetts plan. Mitt's plan as a presidential candidate encourages such disagreement and experimentation. Mitt has embraced the seemingly novel, at least to AmSpec, principle of federalism whereby different ideas can be tested in the states.


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It should also be pointed out that Governor Romney achieved successful healthcare reform, whereas Rudy Giuliani (and his dutiful lacky Jennifer Rubin) has only talked about healthcare in an idealistic echo chamber where tax credits solve everything.

I have yet to understand why some conservatives are opposed to greater individual responsibility for health care, compared to subsidizing free riders at the ER and taxing everyone else. And I really really have yet to understand what Klein and Rubin have against the MA plan which drops health premiums (from over $400 to $175 per month in one typical instance).

As of this point, a majority of the states in the union have followed Governor Romney's lead in testing out solutions to health care challenges...many of which borrow key elements of Romney's proposal.

The great part about Mitt's MA health care reform is that now conservatives have a great example to point to when arguing why we don't need to nationalize health care. States can take care of the problem on their own! Mitt Romney should be thanked by everyone on the GOP side who say let the states decide because his MA example gives that argument plausability it would otherwise lack.

Romney is also the most electible candidate who will be able to take on Hillary or Obama on this signature issue because he has credibility on why a federal approach is not necessary or desirable.

RomneyCare (in MA) is a good model for the nation. It insures that the private sector is in charge of health care by eliminating one of the chief arguments for socialized medicine (the uninsured). It substantially increases the number of private payers into the system, thereby providing stability. Doing nothing about the uninsured is only leading to a slow process where the health care system is being socialized. This is happening as members of both parties turn more and more of the funding for health care over to the government (prescription drug coverage, child health block grants, state level insurance program expansions, etc). RomneyCare takes all of this off the table and moves us in the direction of a more free market private based system.

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