Monday, February 7, 2011

Mitt Romney, You have some Splainin to do on MassCare and owe me an Apology

As Ricky Ricardo used to say to Lucy, You got some splaining to do. Well Mitt Romney you got some Splainin to do on Romneycare!  I see Mitt out doing the Book publicity tour for the Paperback release of his #1 NY Times best sellers “No Apology – Believe in America”.  The recent Obamacare federal unconstitutional ruling is sure to bring intense scrutiny and a new round of questions for Romney on his Massachusetts Romneycare if he elects to run for the Republican nomination as all signs point to.

Romney is quick to state on the record he would repeal Obamacare. That is going to be a critical voting point during the 2012 election cycle. Fresh off the 2010 Shellacking of Obama’s agenda new Speaker of the House John Boehner has stopped all Democratic hopes of two more years of Liberal legislation. But for the GOP to hope to rollback and repeal Obamacare they need to take the Senate and win the White House in 2012.

Romney when asked why he would repeal Obamacare is quick to say it’s a federalist unconstitutional law that should not be forced upon the 50 States. That quickly begs the question but Romeycare is somewhat similar to Obamacare why NOT apply it to all the states?  At that point Romney again reverts to state by state choice, and that Romneycare as being imperfect and with flaws that can be done better and does not fit to all states. That is not going to be reassuring to the Conservative voter base with so much on the line with rolling back Obamacare.

What really confused me was Romney’s stance to basically not apologize for Romneycare with the stakes being that it very likely could impede him from winning the GOP nomination. Early on Romney across the polling worlds is the front runner or at least at the top. Looking at Romney’s Education, early career as a strategic consultant working at Boston Consulting & Bain Capital, work on Olympics and Governor I found it perplexing that he continues to not distance himself further from Romneycare. Few would argue that Mitt is not a very smart individual with an impressive business background so I found it so perplexing his stance.

I am about to attempt to do what Mitt Romney has done a piss poor job of doing, explaining what he was thinking and trying to do with Masscare aka Romneycare. First let me say the Universal Healthcare/Socialist label and Individual mandate right or wrong have to be addressed explained upfront by Romney. Having read excerpts of Mitt’s book, researched topic, and experience running Businesses in Massachusetts I’m probably as qualified as anyone to try and understand what Mitt was trying to do.

The First major point is that Romneycare is a PRIVATE solution to healthcare and not a Government takeover. All that I have read on Obamacare is that it is a “Public Option” in sheep’s clothing that will kill all Private sector Health Insurance as we knew it in time. In Massachusetts 5 years post Romneycare Private Insurance is alive and doing well here. We shop insurance coverage annually with options of Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield etc. and people still have their plans/coverage’s no change. That is in sharp contrast to the Government takeover of Healthcare that Obama and the Progressives are ramming down our throats.  That is a starting point difference.

The next point is but Universal Healthcare means its “free for all” and who is going to pay for it? That is a valid and correct point, Socialist in fact. So I dig into what was Romney thinking? Well for starters his plan had a cost to be paid by all in it; it was intended and originally was not an “entitlement” freebie that the Democrats covet. Romney also put a team together with the likes of Bain, Heritage, MIT to make this Plan fiscally cost neutral. At this point they actually implemented some of the GOP plan, rewriting Regulations to allow cheaper Insurance premiums (competition). They also targeted getting hands on Federal money to cover all the costs related to ER services already being paid on the uninsureds. It was at this point that Romney felt he could provide a near cost neutral plan that offered affordable coverage for all.

This is where Romney has some Splainin to do! First to his credit Romneycare was not written with “Free Insurance” for the poor. All were to pay some cost on a sliding scale. It was indeed Romney’s predecessor that legislated “Free Insurance” to the lowest income people and applied liberal “hardships” to allow avoidance of purchasing insurance by some. Romney has done a poor job of explaining this, and placing that blame on Deval Patrick and the 90% Democratic legislation in Boston.

Now he still has more Splainin on the Individual mandate or tax/cost passed on to those not Purchasing Healthcare. Romney was against this and wanted it to be tax incentives to purchase insurance and not a mandated tax cost/penalty. Early versions of this bill were vetoed and revised but Romney ended up signing this provision so it’s on him. That is on him squarely as I see it. This is all laid out well on pages 185 to 195 in his book. He closes again railing Obamacare as a federal takeover, federal spending mandate the states can’t afford. He again goes on to say the “free insurance” provision added by Patrick after he left was not intended or warranted.  Even with that he points out that 98% are now covered at a modest 1 ½% state increase in spending, within plan projections (Source Mass Taxpayer Foundation).

In summary Romney has a hand in the blame game opening up Pandora’s Box here in Massachusetts to a Progressive takeover of Healthcare. Bandying Universal coverage for all he welcomes and deserves some of the Romneycare Socialized healthcare labels tagged to him. I see some good in the rewritten regulations and allowed competition at lower premium choices. I love that I still have my Private health care coverage with no Government takeover and intrusion. But the Individual mandate needs to be thrown out akin to what happened in Florida and the entitlement “free insurance” that the liberals have tacked on have made Romneycare less than an ideal model for other states to implement.

Now if Romney could articulate what needs to be clearly changed/removed from RomneyCare to make it a solid plan that could be molded with future GOP plan’s he would be well advised to do so. But he really has done a poor job explaining that. Strip out the entitlement “free insurance”  aspects, no individual mandated purchase requirements and push tort reforms, competition and eased regulations allowing true cost savings on and on. I don’t think there is a fiscal conservative out there that does not want affordable insurance available for all at a near nominal to no cost to taxpayers. Until Romney can articulate what I have attempted to summarize he will not win the 2012 Republican nomination, and you can book that!

Mitt Romney, you owe me an apology for having to write this Op-ed! And it is due time for YOU to start Splainin, your electability rides on it.



  1. What you are suggesting Romney do on his design of Romneycare (remove the mandate, tort reform etc.)isn't going to happen. That would be tantamount to admitting he was wrong and perhaps being seen as flip-flopping. I'm assuming he feels that makes him look weak. Instead, expect Mitt to contort any way required to defend Romneycare to conservatives.

    It likely makes him unelectable in the GOP primaries unless the field gets too crowded.

    By the way, don't hold your breath on that apology from Mitt either.

  2. How's this for some splainin?