It was a sincere, intelligent, cogent, informed political disaster.
The essence of Romney’s position is: I stand by my successful healthcare plan in Massachusetts, but ObamaCare is a disaster because it does all of the things that RomneyCare does, just on a national level. So, if I am elected president I will give waivers to states so they can repeat my mistakes if they want to, or, if they are smart, they will reject both my approach and Obama’s.
I don’t think it will work.
It’s hard to hate Obamacare and love Romneycare. For example, Romney continued to defend the individual mandate — the most despised part of Obamacare — as right for Massachusetts but wrong for the country.
Four years after reform, Massachusetts still has the highest health-insurance premiums in the country. For small employers, the rise is about 14 percent beyond those in the rest of the nation.
And it’s increasingly difficult to get a doctor’s appointment. A recent survey by the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals that fewer than half of the state’s primary-care practices are accepting new patients, and the average wait time to get an appointment with an internist is 48 days. The result: The use of hospital emergency rooms in Massachusetts by people seeking routine care has increased. This was another problem Romneycare was supposed to fix.
The five-point plan that Governor Romney outlined to structure the health-reform initiative he would undertake as president is sound and based upon solid principles. But it’s hard to see how voters will give him a chance unless he admits that the health plan he developed for Massachusetts went seriously wrong.
He was emphatic about calling for repeal of Obamacare and said he will issue an executive order paving the way for the states to get a waiver from the health-overhaul law while Congress works to repeal it.
But you can’t use an executive order to wipe out two massive new federal entitlement programs, $550 billion in new and higher taxes, a vast expansion of Medicaid, and federal mandates on individuals, , and the states. Waivers are not a solution.