On Wednesday January 19th, the House of Representatives passed a repeal of the recently enacted health care reform legislation, known as ObamaCare. The vote of 245 to 189 was cast along strict party lines, with only three Democrats joining the victorious Republicans. However the vote is widely viewed as merely a symbolic gesture from the GOP; as the measure is not expected to be brought up on the Democrat controlled Senate floor.
With no “Replace” legislation waiting in the wings to be considered, Americans will have to wait and see what the GOP controlled House majority will devise, if anything. On Thursday, the GOP House leadership did take some initial action to begin looking at health care reform alternatives. Others suggest the GOP might drag it’s feet in replacing ObamaCare, since strategists eye it as a winning 2012 campaign issue for the GOP and its hopes of gaining control of the Senate, as well as the White House.
Against this backdrop, potential 2012 GOP Presidential hopefuls will be jockeying to present their own ideas to voters. Some have the luxury of never having to face the task of resolving health care issues, while some have addressed the issue head on. The GOP presumed candidate with the most experience in health care reform is former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney. His is famous – or infamous, depending on which GOP circles one travels – for enacting a health care plan during his tenure, which nearly everyone has cited as the model for ObamaCare. Surely this issue will be Romney’s biggest hurdle in seeking the nomination.
While some are quick to throw brick bats at the MassCare plan, others take a more reasoned and pragmatic view of Romney’s actions. The following points were originally posted by Right Speak member Noelle, commenting in a blog post about the virtues of Romney’s plan.
Here, with her permission, Noelle expresses some very good points in drawing distinctions between Obama and Romney’s plans:
“This has been an interesting and lively debate. Just to add my 2¢ here, I think Romney’s has only 2 challenges in winning the nomination. The first is his health care reform that was passed in MA, and the second is his religious faith. Regarding his faith, that is clearly a ridiculous issue, but that won’t stop a few people from refusing to support him.”
“The legitimate issue is his record on health care reform. I am a conservative; MA is a very liberal state. I’m glad I don’t live there and have to live under such liberal “leadership.” That being said, health care is a complex issue. Romney and others who worked on it spent a very long time researching, studying, analyzing, compromising, and fighting, to get a result that in the end was overwhelmingly supported by the people of Massachusetts.”
“There are elements of it that I don’t like and that are not well received by conservatives. The problem I see is with those who don’t support Romney. Rather than look at the complexities of the issue and plan, acknowledging both the good and the bad, they only talk about the points they don’t like. Arguing in sound bites, rather than really showing an understanding of the complexity of the issue.”
To say the MA healthcare reform is a model for Obamacare is ignoring some very significant factors:
1. Romney BALANCED THE BUDGET before tackling the health care issue. Obama didn’t.
2. Romney DID NOT RAISE TAXES to implement the MA healthcare reform.
3. Romney’s bill was 72 pages long. Obama’s was 2,700 pages. That is significant because how much is hidden in those 2,700 pages? You can’t hide in 72 pages.
4. The MA healthcare reform bill was found to be constitutional in Massachusetts. The constitutionality of Obamacare is still in the courts, but I believe that it is unconstitutional, and the current VA ruling says so too.
5. The MA healthcare reform was designed specifically for Massachusetts. It is a relatively wealthy state, with already relatively low numbers of uninsured. Obamacare intends to impose the same solutions on Tennessee, West Virginia, Nevada, Oregon, California, Alabama, and all the rest, even though each state has its own unique issues to address.
6. Romney succeeded in getting support from both sides of the aisle. He was able to compromise and find solutions that were satisfactory to both. No one group was entirely happy, but all had the opportunity to participate and contribute to the debate. Obamacare was forced upon us all without getting input or support from Republicans.
As realistic, rationale and reasonable as these points are, critics will no doubt continue to take the easier path, popping off slogans, platitudes and talk radio mantras. Campaign opponents of Romney will also attempt to make political hay of his reform actions. However, with so many offering so few solutions or even worse – advice bereft of actual experience – it may turn out, the man who did the most, will actually be the one voters will listen to.
Author’s Note: Doug would like to thank Noelle for her comments, which presented here, inspired this post. —– Cross-posted at Right Speak