Does Romney truly oppose Obamacare? Some Democratic pundits have suggested he has only been siding with the right to assure the nomination. Romneycare has come under criticism for being similar to Obamacare, but do the plans differ? Do Romney’s foreboding predictions—if we do elect Obama and inherit Obamacare—ring true, when Romney’s similar program in Massachusetts has been successful?
Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare, saying that we cannot afford it with such a deficit. When he is pressed on his own support of similar plan as Governor of the Commonwealth—as well as its apparent success—he states that it was successful because the decision was made at the state level. He states that the health plan created for Massachusetts citizens is not workable at the federal level. He urges that Obamacare will cause more debt, leave citizens struggling to pay premiums, drive employers away from coverage, and leave people waiting in lines for quality health care.
Romney’s proposed health care policy at present? He agrees that we should provide Medicare for the poor, vouchers for seniors to purchase their own plans (not supported by Obamacare), was originally against mandatory female reproductive care provided by employees but in the 2nd debate has changed that stance, and more significantly is against federally mandated health care which is the crux of the Affordable Care Act.
Romney insists that his Massachusetts plan—although Democrats claim it is basically an endorsement of Obamacare–is different because of the very fact that it was enacted at the state level. However, a little known fact is that Romneycare was supported by nearly $400 million in federal funding to insure the uninsured for his program. Opponents might ask: is there any real difference in state mandated v. federally mandate if the money is coming from the federal government to pay for the state-mandated plan? Romney supporters emphasize that regardless of where the funding came from, the state was able to define its own system, and that is why it was successful.
Just how successful has Romneycare been? Here is a brief summary of the current state of affairs in Massachusetts.
- More businesses are offering medical insurance to their employees
- 76% of employers—up 6 % from five years ago–offer medical insurance to employees, 10% above the national rate
- At the time, then Governor Romney predicted that the law would add only 1 to 1.5% to the state budget. The additional cost to the state in 2011 was only 1.2%
- Also, health care premium costs for individuals who purchased their own plans, went down. According to FactCheck.org, individuals who bought insurance on their own “saw a major drop in premiums, as much as a 40% decline, according to some figures.” On average, premiums dropped between 18%-20% for the average individual buying health insurance on their own.
- RomneyCare remains very popular among state residents. According to repeated studies conducted nationally and by the state, 67-84% of Massachusetts residents are happy with the plan and would not go back to the old system if given the chance
With two weeks left until one of the most important elections in history in terms of reform, just a smattering of swing votes could alter the course of things in the United States permanently. Ultimately, whoever takes the Presidential seat will hopefully put the focus only on passing a workable health care system as opposed to a political agenda. What do you think? Should healthcare be left to the states, or is it time for the federal government to step in and mandate coverage?