Guest Post: Response To The Beacon Hill Study

This is a guest post from Ryan Larsen of WhyRomney.com. With his permission we’re cross-posting it here.

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The first problem with the Beacon Hill study/attack on Romneycare is that it is limited to determining the impact of health care cost increases on the surrounding economy. It is not designed to determine what caused the increase in health care costs to begin with. The study, in other words, had no basis for concluding anything about Romneycare.

But it gets worse. The study makes this assumption because it defers to an earlier study which, in perhaps a Freudian slip, states at one point: “We employed the same mythology.” And, indeed, there is “mythology” in their methodology. Their trend numbers, which they use in comparing health costs under Romneycare with costs before Romneycare, are faulty. For instance, in Table 11 their “trend” numbers claim that costs in 2006 were expected to decline from 2005, but this is clearly a false trend since costs had increased every year since 1998.

They then subtract their false trend numbers from the actual cost increase, creating the impression that costs rose at a faster rate. The bogus numbers compound each year, as the false trend numbers get further off course. We can see this play out in each of their tables. Consider table 12, insurance premiums for an average single plan. From 2000 to 2005, costs increased by $1500; meanwhile, from 2004 to 2009, costs only increased by $1100. That’s a downward trend. Yet the study claims that the premium rate in 2009 was $215 higher than the trend.
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David French: Add Health Care to Long List of Romney Advantages

RomneyCare shouldn’t be a liability in 2012. It should be an asset.

Romney's Experience with Health Care Plays to his Advantage

Romney's Experience with Health Care Plays to his Advantage

Our friend David French uses — in stellar fashion — his weekly column at Patheos.com to offer his thoughts on the ongoing Health Care debate.

The piece is three pages long, but well worth the read. I’ll post some tasters for you here, but you’d be best-off heading to Patheos to give it a full review.

French starts like this:

Conservative pundits are in high dudgeon over Mitt Romney’s May 12th health care address. Their explosions of indignation, sadly, have shown contextual ignorance and ideological incoherence. Romney has grappled with health care in greater depth than any other Republican contender and has unique and powerful insights into ObamaCare’s procedural and substantive flaws. As a long-time supporter of Romney, I predict that he will not only survive this round of demagoguery, but he will prevail in the primaries and his health care experience will be a tremendous advantage in the general election.

And ends like this:

In Massachusetts, Mitt Romney balanced the budget then reached across the aisle to create a popular health reform program that was specifically designed for the unique needs of his state. Barack Obama, on the other hand, created a huge new entitlement program in an era of record deficits by ramming an unconstitutional, one-size-fits-all mandate through a reluctant congress and over the expressed objections of a majority of the American people.


When you’re done reading, come on back to MRC and give your take in the comment section below. I’ll also suggest you employ our nifty share buttons at the top of this article to spread the word out to Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE by Jayde: Governor Romney likes French’s article, too. Here’s what The Gov posted on his Facebook page:

Thank you David French for your insightful article on my healthcare plan, I encourage others to read it: http://mi.tt/m63Df5



-Luke Gunderson

Major Myth, “Once People Realize Mitt Implemented an Individual Insurance Mandate His Campaign is Sunk,” Now Dispelled

Poll #1 question A (478 single women aged 18-35):  “Would you like to marry a multi-millionaire movie-star?”  Yes 89%

Poll #1 question B:  “Would you like to marry Charlie Sheen?”  No 93%

Poll #2 question A (589 likely GOP voters): “Would you support someone for President who granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants AND signed a bill as governor paving the way for a massive expansion in abortions?”  No 85%

Poll #2 question B: “Would you support Ronald Reagan for President?”  Yes 89%

And for the LDS readers . . .

Poll #3 question A (339 BYU co-eds):  “Do you plan to marry someone who chose not to serve a LDS mission?” No 95%

Poll #3 question B: “Would you marry Jimmer Fredette or Steve Young?” Yes 82%

These examples are obviously ficticious creations aimed at proving that poll questions, if phrased in a slanted way, can lead to incorrect conclusions once actual people are inserted.  I bring this up because some are claiming that the polls that show that 60%+ of likely GOP primary voters wouldn’t vote for “someone who supported a bill at the state level mandating that people have health insurance” are a harbinger of death for Romney’s campaign.  Their argument goes that once people actually find out that Romney did such a thing, his candidacy is doomed. 

Hogwash, and here’s why . . .

A lot of GOP voters like Romney already (no one else is polling better nationally, and he’s romping the field in many early states.)  Even if they oppose the individual mandate idea, they do not view it as a “deal breaker” for him as a potential nominee.   As evidence I bring up the state of New Hampshire and their view of Romney/RomneyCare.   

The majority of the population of New Hampshire is in the Boston media market.  They have watched Romney for nearly a decade, first as a Governor, and since as a two-time Presidential contender.  They know all about RomneyCare already as it was passed with great pomp and circumstance back in 2006.   Yet, it is in that self-same state where Romney enjoys a whopping lead in the polls.  This is despite these NH GOP primary voters answering the following:

Would you be willing to vote for someone who supported a bill at the state level mandating that voters have health insurance for President?

  • Would be willing 14%
  • Would not be willing 61%

Sounds pretty damning, right?  However, I recently wrote about the Suffolk Univ./WHDH poll that delved a little deeper, asked more realistic questions, and provided solid evidence that RomneyCare won’t be the drag that many say it will be.  In fact, it serves as evidence that the more people know about Romney and RomneyCare, the more they like and support him.

Thinking about Mitt Romney, does his involvement in helping to pass Massachusetts’s universal health care make you more likely to vote for him, less likely, or does it not affect your decision?

  • More likely 14%
  • Less likely 29%
  • No effect 53%

When the right question is asked to the most informed electorate in the nation on the issue of RomneyCare, it’s obvious that the issue will not be a big drag on him (heck, even 14% of those polled said it made them MORE likely to support Romney).  Nearly 70% of people said RomneyCare either wouldn’t matter or would make them more likely to choose Romney.  That doesn’t read like a death sentence to Romney’s candidacy to me.

On Health Care: Romney Asks Obama, “Why Didn’t You Call Me?”

Obama never went to Romney for health care advice.

Obama never inquired Romney for health care advice.

It’s a line that Romney has used in a few interviews during his book tour last year, but most recently in a Q & A segment just after the former MA Governor’s speech on Saturday. It’s a simple interrogative phrase that, if used in a debate vs. Obama, would beg a more profound response (though the President is surely witty and evasive enough to dance around the question at heart): “Why didn’t you call me?”

President Obama frequently showers sardonic praise on Mitt Romney for the health care law he signed in Massachusetts, calling it a model for the national plan. On Saturday, Mr. Romney offered a new retort, saying:

[…]

“He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan. If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me?” Mr. Romney said. “Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t?”

To applause, he added: “I would have told him, ‘What you’re doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.”

I think these are very legitimate questions. If Obama and his cronies are going to play politics by trying to pin the health care tail on Romney, then why didn’t they invite Mr. Romney to a single health care summit? Can they really accredit Romney for their failure when they never even bothered to give him a single jingle to discuss what worked and what didn’t work in Massachusetts?!

I’ll tell you why. Firstly, Romney wouldn’t have worn their phony lab coats…

Secondly, the pragmatic, solution-oriented turnaround expert would have told them flat out — as he has all along — that the notion of a one-size-fits-all plan is not only an unconscionable abuse of power, it’s flat out unconstitutional.

Thirdly:

They knew that the basis and overall intent of their plan was so immensely different from Romney’s that, essentially, they would have been talking to Henry Ford about how to erect a flying saucer. Their plan, rooted in big government principles, was to force private providers out of the market and rely on a sole government provider. Their plan was not paid for. Their plan raises taxes and cuts Medicare. Their plan was not viewed favorably by the people it would have effect on (all Americans). Their plan was not introduced after previously balancing the budget. Their plan was jammed through the house, unread.



-Tommy Winter

Mitt Romney vs. Health Care: “The Bottom Line . . . Mitt Romney Stands Strongly Against ObamaCare; Will Work Towards and Sign a Repeal of ObamaCare as Our Next President”

Part 3 in a developing series of in-depth analysis by Dr. Jeff Fuller (See part 1 and part 2)

I was saving this to be the final part in this series, but Romney’s comments over the weekend in New Hampshire made it instantly timely and relevant to this on-going discussion.

Politico got the headline right, “Mitt Romney’s Prescription for ObamaCare: Repeal it.”  I recommend reading or watching Mitt’s speech to the Carroll County GOP group in their entirety, but some specific comments stick out: 

Obamacare has to be repealed and the other programs have to be made sustainable. . . . If we re-shape each of these programs today, and repeal Obamacare, we can honor our promises to seniors, and protect our economy as well. . . .  At every turn, he and his fellow liberals sought to seize more power for Washington.  And in that cause, nothing was more misguided and egregious than Obamacare! 

Living in New Hampshire, you’ve heard of our healthcare program next door in Massachusetts. You may have noticed that the President and his people spend more time talking about me and Massachusetts healthcare than Entertainment Tonight spends talking about Charlie Sheen [link to part 1 in this series documenting all the “attention” Mitt’s been getting from the White House on Health Care].  Our approach was a state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts.  What we did was what the Constitution intended for states to do—we were one of the laboratories of democracy. 

Our experiment wasn’t perfect—some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change. One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover. 

I would repeal Obamacare, if I were ever in a position to do so.  

My experience has taught me that states are where healthcare programs for the uninsured should be crafted, just as the Constitution provides. Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families.

Can Romney be trusted to keep this campaign promise?  Some skeptics will never be satisfied, but I challenge any reader to point out an actual instance where Romney broke his campaign promises as Governor of Massachusetts (should be pretty darn easy to do for someone who flips and flops with the political winds, eh?).  Yes, Romney has a record of keeping campaign promises and can be trusted to keep this one.

And Romney’s been consistant in his opposition to ObamaCare and calling for it’s repeal.  Immediately after passage, Romney called for it’s repeal, citing procedural and substantive reasons:

America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power. President Obama has betrayed his oath to the nation — rather than bringing us together, ushering in a new kind of politics, and rising above raw partisanship, he has succumbed to the lowest denominator of incumbent power: justifying the means by extolling the ends. He promised better; we deserved better.

He calls his accomplishment “historic” — in this he is correct, although not for the reason he intends. Rather, it is an historic usurpation of the legislative process — he unleashed the nuclear option, enlisted not a single Republican vote in either chamber, bribed reluctant members of his own party, paid-off his union backers, scapegoated insurers, and justified his act with patently fraudulent accounting. What Barack Obama has ushered into the American political landscape is not good for our country; in the words of an ancient maxim, “what starts twisted, ends twisted.”

His health-care bill is unhealthy for America. It raises taxes, slashes the more private side of Medicare, installs price controls, and puts a new federal bureaucracy in charge of health care. It will create a new entitlement even as the ones we already have are bankrupt. For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed. That campaign begins today.

In May 2009, as Obama and congress were barrelling towards a health care reform bill, Romney offered 6 points of advice in an op-ed, the last of which was:

Center reforms at the state level. Open the door to state plans designed to meet the various needs of their citizens.  Before imposing a one-size-fits-all federal program, let the states serve as “the laboratories of democracy.”

In a very informative and extensive interview Romney held with Human Events Online in July 2009, headlined as “Romney Attacks ObamaCare” he says of the President’s plan:

It’s filled with so many defects it’s hard to know where exactly to begin.  . . . President Obama, out of an apparent desire to score a victory, is not willing to give health care the deliberative process it deserves. . . . [And he says regarding the “public option”] It’s a bad idea and should be rejected.

Romney also penned an Op-Ed in the USA Today in July 2009 entitled “Mr President, What’s the Rush?”

Fast-forwarding a bit, on April 7th 2010, at  the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, Romney said:

Had they brought the federal bill to my desk when I was governor, I’d have vetoed it,” . . .  ”We solved a problem in the state with a state answer,” Romney said. “We didn’t have the federal government come in and intrude on the rights of states.” . . .  Romney said the federal government created its plan without learning from Massachusetts or any other state. “It shouldn’t have been put in place without experimentation,”

Jumping back to the last presidential election primary, in Jan, 2008, all of the major GOP nominee’s (including Romney) were against a federal healthcare plan:

Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Thompson are all opposed to health care reform measures that incorporate universal coverage.  Tax breaks, high deductible plans, consumerism - all are fine, but no GOP presidential candidates support universal coverage.

Even waaaaaay back in 1993-4, Romney was against a federal “Government Takeover of Health Care” . . . which, at the time, was known as HillaryCare.  For completeness sake, Romney also opposed HillaryCare 2.0 in 2007.

Recent headlines are starting to see the forest for the trees.  In an article titled “Voters: ‘RomneyCare’ not fatal” New Hampshire’s Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley wisely opined:  

“People get it. … They know he is opposed to Obamacare. That’s the bottom line.”

I would only add to the “bottom line” that, not only is Romney opposed to ObamaCare, he will work towards and sign a repeal of the law as one of his first actions as our new President.  You can take that one to the bank.

UPDATE:  Two weeks after this posting, Romney has upped the ante on his rejection of ObamaCare and his willingness to fight for it’s repeal.  In a brief National Review Online Op-ed on March 22nd entitled “If I Were President: ObamaCare, One Year in” he brought up a new angle that I hadn’t considered:

If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states. The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.

As I have stated time and again, a one-size-fits-all national plan that raises taxes is simply not the answer. Under our federalist system, the states are “laboratories of democracy.” They should be free to experiment. By the way, what works in one state may not be the answer for another. Of course, the ultimate goal is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms that promote competition and lower health-care costs. But since an outright repeal would take time, an executive order is the first step in returning power to the states.

Powerful, pragmatice leadership, with both experience and foresight.  That’s what our country needs in the White House, and that’s what Mitt Romney has in spades!

-Jeff Fuller, M.D.
*Stay Tuned: Future installments will address topics of 1) Federalism, 2) Mandates, 3) Whether or not RomneyCare is a “success”, and 4) a head to head comparison of RomneyCare vs ObamaCare.  Previous installment titles:  “Mitt Romney vs. Health Care: ‘The Problem’ (Or is it?)“and “Mitt Romney vs. Health Care: Why RomneyCare Makes Mitt the BEST Nominee to Face Obama

Mitt Owning RomneyCare . . . No Apology

This is not the third installment in my ongoing series of “Romney vs Health Care” . . . just an update to show that Mitt is not running away from, apologizing for, nor “flipping” on RomneyCare (as was predicted and encouraged in Part 1 of the series; Part 2 is here for those interested);

Despite the urging  from Mike Huckabee (who I’m sure has Mitt’s best interests in heart) that Romney should apologize for RomneyCare (not the first time Huckabee has called for an apology from Romney BTW), the good Governor has stood firm.  His spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom responded:

“Mitt Romney is proud of what he accomplished for Massachusetts in getting everyone covered . . .  What’s important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare.  A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn’t work.”
Apparently, Huckabee spends a good portion of his new book trashing RomneyCare, but does so in a very dishonest manner.  After assailing RomneyCare’s aims and implementation, Huckabee claims: “You get one guess as to who now has the highest average health-insurance premiums in the country. Yep, it’s Massachusetts!”  What he fails to mention is that Massachusetts already HAD the highest premiums BEFORE RomneyCare.

Similarly, Huckabee states in his book “when the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation stepped into the lab to examine this experiment-in-progress, they found that health care, which was 16 percent of the state budget in 1990, had jumped to 35 percent in 2010.”  Someone remind him that RomneyCare wasn’t even law until 2006!  Quoting 20 years worth of increases (that have been happening in ALL states anyways) and blaming them on RomneyCare is beyond misleading.  And quoting the Massachusettes Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) for that statistic?!?!  The MTF said, in May 2009:

Despite a public perception that the state’s landmark health care reform law has turned out to be unaffordable, a new analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation finds that the cost to taxpayers of achieving near universal coverage has been relatively modest and well within initial projections
This is the same MTF which said that “Health Law Costs Are Not The Problem” and called RomneyCare “A Great Success . . . with enourmous accomplishments”. 

Additionally, Huckabee called RomneyCare “socialized medicine” . . . a term he has never used to describe ObamaCare.  Hmmm . . .

UPDATE: Romney’s endorsements are starting to line up prior to him even announcing!  Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Scott Brown, and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott have all said they’d support Mitt within the last week.  Add your own endorsement of Romney in the comments section!

Mitt Romney vs. Health Care: “The Problem” (Or is it?)

Part 1 in a developing series of in-depth analysis by Dr. Jeff Fuller (See Part 2 and Part 3)

Is Health Care a Problem for Romney?

It is now a central dogma of the GOP’s 2012 pre-primary that the biggest obstacle Mitt Romney will face is his history on the issue of Health Care — mainly that RomneyCare is similar to, and was a template for, ObamaCare (which Republicans rightly loathe).  In this multi-part series I will discuss the issue in depth and debunk some of the superficial and opportunistic fire (both “enemy” and “friendly”) Romney has been taking of late.

By way of background, as a practicing physician I live and breath health care everyday.  I strongly feel that, as Americans, we have the best health care available in the world and I’m proud to play a part in that.  I was actually first drawn to investigate Romney back in 2005 when the Massachusetts Health Care bill (alternatively called MassCare or RomneyCare) was first passed.  I was impressed with Mitt’s courage and skill in addressing such a controversial subject, and within such a liberal state.  The fact that The Heritage Foundation was on board with the plan gave me an extra level of comfort as well.  After thoroughly studying Romney’s history and platform on other issues as well, I strongly supported Mitt from that point, and continue to today.  There are definitely major problems with our healthcare system, but rarely do you find conservative leaders willing to tackle any of those problems.  It is almost ironic that it would have been a lot less headache politically for Mitt (in retrospect) if he had done nothing on this issue.  What’s the old cynical saying? “No good deed will go unpunished” seems to apply here.

Never afraid to speak his mind, Democrat Ed Rendell (who is often known for his candor), summed up Romney’s apparent conumdrum quite well:

“If I were in charge of the Republican Party – by the way, this will be the kiss to death to the guy I’m going to mention – Mitt Romney would be the candidate, no ifs, ands, and buts about it,” Rendell said Friday night. “He’s got the best credentials to talk about the economy and job creation,” he said. “But Mitt Romney, I don’t think can get the nomination, because of healthcare.”

It’s that last point that is becoming the new “conventional wisdom” regarding Romney’s imminent candidacy.  Even some conservative columnists have already written Romney’s obituary over the issue.  In dramatic and grandiose fashion, John Podhoretz recently wrote:
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Health Care Reform - Romney, Reason and Reality

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

Two New Team MRC Members

Permit a personal moment for me as I post on some of the goings-on in the Gundy Clan.

Baby Jude

Proud New Father

First, I’d like to congratulate my brother and fellow team member Aaron on becoming first-time father over the weekend. He and his wife welcomed in Jude Adams Gunderson on New Years Day. Jude weighed in at a healthy 7lbs 4oz and was 19 inches long, and according to Aaron he is extremely handsome. Both baby Jude and mommy are doing very well, but Aaron is still reeling from shock. I kid. But seriously, I doubt Jude’s parent are fully aware of the work and sleepless nights that are about to hit them. :) Since Jude can’t quite read, write, or even vote - we’ll just make him an honorary team member.

Second, we’d like to welcome back our youngest brother Zach to the team. He returned New Years Eve from a 2-year church mission in Hong Kong where he learned Mandarin Chinese. Zach has supported Romney with us for a long-time and even went with us 3 years ago to Iowa to volunteer for the caucuses - which happened to take place exactly 3 years ago yesterday. Little Zachy is very easy-going and fun-loving, and yes ladies, he is available.

Now:

Zach, Nate and Luke (Aaron was at hospital w/ his wife)

Then:

Nate, Luke, Aaron, Zach - Urbandale, IA - Jan. 2, 2008

Better late than never:
Earlier in 2010 I wanted to recognize and congratulate team member Dave P. on his journey into the happily-ever-after. Dave got married in June and we still wish him the best as he ventures into life’s greatest institution.

~Nate G.

Mitt Romney’s Supposed Health Care Straddle: Is He Trying to Have it Both Ways?

Debunking erroneous allegations from the media is becoming a full time job (one that doesn’t pay very well). I wish the press didn’t depend on fabricating nonsense in order to make a living — sure would allow me to trust them more.

Two Men, two very different health care plans

The latest accusation comes from The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby, and it is just as phony as it’s predecessors. Here’s Jacoby pretending he doesn’t know where Romney stands on the individual mandate, saying that Romney is ‘straddling the health care issue’:

Is it Romney’s position that coercive insurance directives are fine when they are imposed by states, and a “power grab’’ only when imposed by Congress? Does he oppose ObamaCare, with its maze of controls and penalties, as a matter of federalism — or as a matter of liberty?

I suggest Mr. Jacoby flip through the pages of Romney’s most recent book, where Romney discusses in-depth his stance on health care. Romney’s position on this issue has not wavered. There has been no “double speak”. He has not been “trying to have it both ways”.

Here are the hard facts on Romney’s health care stance:

  • State’s Rights: Romney believes that states have the right to structure their own plan according to the demands of that state, a belief guided by the principles of the constitution. He believes that the complexities of health care are so vastly different among each demographic in each state that there is no possible to way effectively manage a national, one-size-fits-all plan. He has stressed many times that the states were designed as laboratories of democracy, and as such they should learn from neighboring states and adopt whatever policy they deem appropriate for their state.

  • The Mandate: Romney believes that if the alternative to a mandate is higher taxes on responsible citizens to cover the cost of free loaders, then a mandate may be a favorable option (again, its up to the state to decide). That said, Romney advocated an opt-out provision for people who wanted to forgo insurance and pay their own way; that provision, among others, was vetoed by the 85+ % democratic legislature. He has stressed that, at the time, Massachusetts felt that a mandate was the answer to their health care woes (and the notion was received very favorbly by his constituents), but that the same concept would never function nationally.

    Back to Jacoby’s piece where he makes the rehashed argument that Romney is to blame for ObamaCare by citing MIT economist Jonathan Gruber:

    “If any one person in the world deserves credit for where we are now [with passage of the new federal law], it’s Mitt Romney. He designed the structure of the federal bill.’’

    Oh really? Why, then, did Romney never get a phone call from Obama? As the supposed creator of ObamaCare, why was he never summoned to a health care summit? Why was he never given a white lab coat and told to pose in front of cameras at the white house? You would think that, as the expert on the matter, Romney would have been consulted at least over a text message or Skype. But no.

    Where is Romney's Lab Coat?

    Here’s why the white house didn’t bother contacting Romney: they knew that the basis and overall intent of their plan was so immensely different from Romney’s that, essentially, they would have been talking to Henry Ford about how to erect a flying saucer. Their plan, rooted in big government principles, was to force private providers out of the market and rely on a sole government provider. Their plan was not paid for. Their plan raises taxes and cuts Medicare. Their plan was not viewed favorably by the people it would have effect on (all Americans). Their plan was not introduced after previously balancing the budget. Their plan had was jammed through the house, unread. Indeed, their plan was an “‘Unconscionable Abuse of Power”.

    I suppose I’m not entirely sure what Romney would have told Obama if he had gone to him for advice, but Romney did have this to say the day ObamaCare passed:

    America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power. President Obama has betrayed his oath to the nation — rather than bringing us together, ushering in a new kind of politics, and rising above raw partisanship, he has succumbed to the lowest denominator of incumbent power: justifying the means by extolling the ends. He promised better; we deserved better.

    He calls his accomplishment “historic” — in this he is correct, although not for the reason he intends. Rather, it is an historic usurpation of the legislative process — he unleashed the nuclear option, enlisted not a single Republican vote in either chamber, bribed reluctant members of his own party, paid-off his union backers, scapegoated insurers, and justified his act with patently fraudulent accounting. What Barack Obama has ushered into the American political landscape is not good for our country; in the words of an ancient maxim, “what starts twisted, ends twisted.”

    His health-care bill is unhealthy for America. It raises taxes, slashes the more private side of Medicare, installs price controls, and puts a new federal bureaucracy in charge of health care. It will create a new entitlement even as the ones we already have are bankrupt. For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed. That campaign begins today

    Look folks, it’s easy to see where Mitt Romney stands on the issue. It doesn’t frustrate me that people are concerned with Mitt Romney’s past regarding health care, they have that right; what frustrates me is when certain people use their high profile press position to regurgitate false allegations, all the while knowing exactly where Mitt stands.

    I, for one, cannot wait till the campaigning begins. Romney, having sharpened his debate skills, will be given plenty of air time to reinforce his health care stance for those who choose to remain ignorant. Granted, people like Jeff Jacoby will always find a way to contort Romney’s words — after all, if they can’t succeed in creating buzz they will be yanked from their post and replaced by somebody who can.