The following is a cross-post from MRC written by Ben Collins. It is somewhat of an excerpt from a much larger article called RomneyCare – The Truth about Massachusetts Health Care, which covers more topics than just the side-by-side comparison to ObamaCare. I am posting this here in hopes some will find it informative and a useful reference. ~Nate G.
It is often asserted that RomneyCare is the same thing as ObamaCare, but this is simply not true. It is important to note that Massachusetts, the state where Romneycare was founded, opposed Obamacare. In fact, Massachusetts opposed Obamacare so much that they elected Senator Scott Brown (R) in 2010 to be the deciding vote against Obamacare after Senator Ted Kennedy’s death. Why would the state where Romneycare was founded be opposed to Obamacare if the two laws were really the same? The answer is, of course, that they are not the same. While there are similarities between the two laws, there are also key differences. Below is a table of differences between the Romney plan and the Obama plan.
Overall Size and Scope
–Whole bill was 70 pages
–Romney vetoed significant sections of the bill including the employer penalty for not providing health insurance
–Romney favored an “opt out” provision from the mandate
–Romney favored no mandated benefits for health care coverage, catastrophic only
–No federal gov. insurance option
–Intended as a market driven solution to healthcare
–Whole bill was 2,074 pages
–Very broad regulation of the insurance industry including an employer penalty for not providing health insurance and no “opt out” provision
–Establishes a 15 member board of unelected bureaucrats with great control over health care benefits and risks rationing health care
–Leaves open the option of creating single-payer gov. insurance in the future
–Intended as a step toward gov. run insurance
–No new taxes!
–Romney balanced the state’s budget first, then passed healthcare law
–No cuts to Medicare benefits
–Modest cost to state (only added 1% to state budget)
–Increased taxes by $500 billion and taxes people who don’t buy insurance
–Despite massive federal gov. debt, Obama still passed Obamacare
–Cuts Medicare by $500 billion
–Overall costs unknown!
–Very strong bipartisan support
–Strong special interest support
–Very popular among the public in Massachusetts
–Strong consensus of approval was built in the state to support the law
–Consensus was built to support an individual mandate
–Absolutely no bipartisan support
–Very controversial and divided special interest groups
–Unpopular in nation overall
–No consensus was built to support a mandate
Does Constitution Define it as a “Tax” or “Penalty/Fee”?
–Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts ruled state mandates are “penalties” because states have different authority and powers than the fed. gov.
–Mass. constitution never considered this a tax
–Supreme Court ruled that federal gov. only has the authority to enact this law by its ability “tax,” and does not meet the required standards to be considered a “penalty.”
–This tax breaks Obama’s promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class
–A state solution to a state problem
–Through collaboration and discussion, Massachusetts created a consensus among stake holders to support the new law
–Federal gov. “one-size-fits-all” plan
–Doesn’t take into account that each state is unique in important ways such as:
1)Vastly different debt levels between states (some states can’t afford new spending on health care)
2)Some states have three times the percentage of uninsured citizens (Much greater costs will be imposed on states with a larger percentage of uninusured citizens)
3)Conservative states will reject implementation of federal gov. plan.
As the above table illustrates, the plan Romney proposed was a much more conservative, business friendly law than what the Democrats passed under President Obama.
The Boston Globe editorial board recently published an article defending RomneyCare on conservative grounds. The editorial board states “the role Romney played on the state level was skillful, creative, and business friendly. Romney was a governor sensitive to business concerns and worried about the state’s business climate.”
A crucial difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare is that the two healthcare plans, while similar in some ways, present vast differences in the essential origins and motives that separate Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. One author summarized it this way:
We know what Romney’s goal was when he passed his health care plan. His goal was to involve the private sector of Massachusetts in insuring a small percentage of the Massachusetts’ residents [who didn’t have health insurance and who were receiving free health care from the government.]
Obama’s goal prior to signing Obamacare into law was much, much bigger.
In 2003, he said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan.”
The fact is, Obamacare was originally going to be single payer. It was going to be European — as close to it as Congress would allow. But that was curbed. What they got, instead — what we got, instead — was the first step. Obamacare. The first step toward single-payer, universal healthcare coverage.
And that is the crucial difference. Romney never said, never touted, never promised that “we may not get [single-payer] immediately” or even a little later than immediately. Romneycare is not Obamacare because Obamacare is just getting started. One was an end in and of itself. The other is (still) a means to an end.
In 2006 when RomneyCare was passed, most conservatives praised Romney’s plan. The Bush administration sent a letter praising the passage of the new law. An often overlooked fact is that without the support of the Bush administration, Romney’s health care law never would have become a reality.
One of Romney’s main goals in passing healthcare legislation was to counter many much more liberal attempts within Massachusetts to take over the healthcare system. The Boston Globe newspaper discusses in detail one plan that Romney feared would become law if action was not taken. That plan was the imposition of a payroll tax of up to $1,700 per employee on all businesses that did not offer health insurance to their employees. It was a serious threat. The plan had been voted on in the year 2000 and the law barely failed by 3%. In 2006 the employer mandate coupled with a heavy payroll tax was to be voted on again.
In regard to ObamaCare, Romney firmly believes that each state should have the right to craft its own health care program. Health care has traditionally been a state issue, not a federal issue, and Romney wants to keep it that way. In his book, No Apology, Romney states:
“My own preference is to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model if they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state ‘laboratories of democracy,’ could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others.”
In keeping with the belief that states should be able to craft their own programs, Romney has said that on his first day as president, he would issue a waiver to all 50 states allowing them to opt out of ObamaCare. This waiver would allow states to postpone the implementation of ObamaCare while Romney works with congress to formally repeal the bill.
In conclusion, a recent article in The New Yorker magazine states that “Romney had accomplished a longstanding Democratic goal – universal health insurance – by combining three conservative policies.” In other words, Romney had beaten Democrats at their own goal of providing universal health insurance – but Romney’s novel approach accomplished this goal not with a government takeover, but with conservative principles. The success of Romney’s healthcare law led many Democrats to consider adopting a similar approach to achieving universal health insurance. However, the end result from the Democrats under President Obama was a plan with a much larger government, much greater spending, increased taxes, and less power to the states and individuals to determine their own health care goals.
I can’t resist posting this, so here it is:
I have to admit the original song is very catchy, but I about died when I heard this version. Long live parody.
If the SOTU speech last night sounded familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard it all before.
From the RNC – Familiar Rhetoric, Failed Record:
Though I’m well aware of the facts behind these issues, I take no credit for this researching these specific ads. Glenn “The Fact Checker” Kessler of The Washington Post investigated claims made against Governor Romney, by Team Perry, in two web ads released just yesterday and this morning. His findings: Three Pinocchios (out of four) for the first and a There-are-only-so-many-Pinocchios-one-can-award-in-a-day! for the second.
Perry claims the first edition of Romney’s book states that the Mass Health Care was a model for a national plan.
The video ad:
The Fact Check:
Via Twitter I stumbled upon an article at RickPerry.org and it only took me 2 minutes to find a major flaw in the numbers that blows open Perry’s claim to be the superior job creator. Team Perry responds to a “false, desperate attack” from Mitt’s team that points out while the US added no jobs to the economy in August under Obama (President Zero), Texas actually lost jobs to the tune of minus 1300 under Perry (Governor Sub-Zero).
The tables of data that RickPerry.org provides yield some unintended consequences when placed under the tiniest bit of scrutiny. First, here is the data taken directly from RickPerry.org, though I added a row of data (in red) on the second table for analysis purposes:
While Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts (Jan. 2003 – Jan. 2007):
|Private Sector Jobs||Jan. 2003||Jan. 2007||Change|
Population change during that time (2002 – 2006):
Now this is not too difficult to figure out, just look a the “change” columns. In Massachusetts during Romney’s tenure the state population only grew by 6000, but in the same time MA added 39,500 jobs added to the private sector. In Texas on the other hand (Perry as Governor), the population grew by a whopping 1.6 million but only added less than half that amount of jobs in the private sector, about 750,000.
What is the end result? Obviously in MA that equals a much lower unemployment rate, but oddly enough Texas’ unemployment rate dropped as well. Does that mean the “other” jobs created were actually created in the government? Perhaps that could be why Texas’ government spending has doubled while Perry has been Governor.
The Big Question for Perry: Sure Texas is creating a lot of jobs, but is that rate high enough to match the growth in population? If not, unemployment rates will not go down.
The Cold Hard Facts: #1-Unemployment in Texas hit 8.5% last month, the highest it has been in 24 years! #2-The state of Texas also happens to be 46th out of 50 in poverty rate – 28% higher than the national average!!
If that is a fantastic record of economic prowess, then I have a Texas-sized bridge I want to sell you.
Factcheck #2: Team Perry calls Romney’s campaign “flailing”, but according to Rasmussen (and backed by other polls) in the space of one month Perry’s lead over Romney has shrunk from 11% to 4%. One does not “flail” when they are edging up in the polls. Perhaps this article by Team Perry is “flailing” as they are now edging downward.
Bonus: On twitter Dave Weigel jokes: So if Perry is Governor Sub Zero, that makes Romney Governor Scorpion. #getoverhere
I was stumped by this for awhile until I recalled my junior-high Mortal Kombat video game days.
Last night’s GOP debate featured 8 participants, but the show clearly centered on the two front-runners of the race. Perry, who currently leads in national polls, was tested on the big stage for the first time in the race. You could also say that Romney was “tested” for the first time, though he had attended a few debates already this year.
As an ardent Romney supporter you need not ask me which I thought had won the debate. Instead, I’d like to show how the media reporters and bloggers have responded instead, and provide a tally of what I found. I searched twitter, news feeds, anything and everything I could find that provided not just a recap of the debate, but instead some sort of opinion of who won the debate. Though there were a good number who put them at a tie, the remaining consensus is overwhelmingly in favor of Romney.
I tallied what I would call significant responses, meaning not people who work for, or were already leaning heavily towards, either camp. And they had to be someone of some sort of influence, ie. blogger, reporter, opinion leader etc. Results were not limited to just conservatives or pundits that I liked.
For Romney: 16 news or blog articles, 7 tweets and 2 “other” factors
For Perry: 3* news or blog articles, and 3 tweets.
*One of the blog claims Perry won because “His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.” Not really a positive reason for winning. I’ll itemize all the results below. Let me know what I’ve missed – I’m sure more will come in throughout the day.
The Romney Round-up: (in no particular order)
1 – Mark Halperin of The Page: Halperin’s Take: Romney Wins, Perry Stumbles on SS
Grades: Romney A, Perry B+
[Romney’s] Main Thing]: Came prepared with clear stats and a good attitude. Showed he won’t back down in the face of the Perry surge. Smart enough to retreat after Perry’s Social Security flap, increasing the odds that it will be the story of the night. Once again, looked fit, at ease, and more like a president than anyone on stage–including his main competition.
[Perry’s] Main Thing]: Largely followed his advisors’ strategy: severe on Romney without being mean-spirited, solution-oriented when discussing the nation’s problems, adept at dodging unwelcome questions, appealingly loose and accessibly human. But his Social Security answer is sure to get a lot of scrutiny from the press, Democrats and Republicans (Romney included). The press will kill him on climate change, too. Not bad for a first debate, but second best is second best.
Mitt Romney’s speech today accomplishes a few important things to advancing his bid for the nomination. So often political reports and pundits have repeated that Romney must take on this issue of health care reform. He has now fulfilled their request, whether they agree with his points or not. Team Romney is now prepared to look forward and talk about things that he will do if he were to become president, and that is as it should be. He is not simply brushing away healthcare and saying “I don’t want to talk about that, let’s talk about economy instead.” He is laying out his plan in a forward-thinking manner. He is already looking forward to the general election, not assuming that he’s won the nomination, but showing his strength as a nominee by disclosing how he plans to take on Obama. It is the tactics of a front-runner, and I believe his campaign is playing their cards well.
It is also important for Romney to take on this issue before the debates. The slotted time for debate answer simply do not provide ample occasion to discuss all the details of his plans. I say plans meaning both his plan that was enacted in Massachusetts, as well as his plan to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a bill of meaningful reform. Romney’s speech today was the greater part of an hour, yet even then I feel he didn’t have time to get into the minutia. There was simply not enough time to cover everything in full detail. That would take the greater part of a day and no casual watchers would stick around long enough to hear it all. Now, when the issue arises in debate he will have addressed most of the major issues, and can point back to his presentation today as a response. “Are you going to apologize for Mass-Care for being a complete failure.” “No, that would be an easier route, be it wouldn’t be honest.”
Which brings me to my last point. Romney points out in his speech, and this portion is included in the video below, that the prevailing political winds at the moment are incessantly calling for him to apologize for the supposed failure, and admit that he should have never tried to fix health care in Massachusetts. Now if Romney were the ultimate spineless finger-in-the-wind candidate that some opponents attempt to make him out to be, why wouldn’t he just succumb to the political pressures? If such a large percentage of conservatives are screaming for it, why should he not join in and help himself out politically? “There is just one problem with that, it wouldn’t be honest.” Romney digs in his heels and says I don’t care what the prevailing notion is, I did what I though was best – and I applaud the Governor’s courage in taking this stand today.
The AP has provided a nice segmented video (embedded below) that shows the more interesting parts of the speech, though it is only 4.5 minutes worth. With this short time I think they have done well encapsulating the message that Romney wanted to get across today. The whole video can be watch a this link to C-SPAN.
The slides for the speech are embedded below and they can be downloaded also –> click here.
Jim Talent also jumps in the debate with A Conflict of Visions in the NRO.
Rep. Brad Jones in the Boston Herald: Romneycare Right Medicine
And lastly, a little suprise from Chris Cilizza: Mitt Romney’s authenticity appeal on health care
Ouch! Take a peek at this list of words Romney employed in a new op-ed directed at Obama: failures, inexperience, misguidance, incompetence, deceptive, dishonest, demagoguery, divisiveness, deception, impair, depressing, short-comings, fault, impugning, disheartening, dangerous… and then the two harshest of them all… wrong and bad.
This op-ed makes an interesting departure from Romney’s give-Obama-the-benefit-of-the-doubt tone of the past two years. Read for yourself:
America saw a different President Obama yesterday. Over the last two years, the president’s job was to repair the economy and to make us safer. He has failed at both but at least he appeared to be trying — his failures were arguably attributable to inexperience, misguidance, and incompetence. Yesterday, however, the president went from being wrong to being deceptive and intellectually dishonest.
The peril of our nation’s present fiscal course has been amply documented. The facts are settled. The president’s own bipartisan deficit commission proposed entitlement and spending reforms to restore fiscal responsibility. The Republicans in the House of Representatives and Chairman Paul Ryan have offered alternative reforms of their own. With the resulting national recognition of financial peril, the country was presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity. As the president summoned the nation, change was hoped for. Demagoguery, divisiveness, and deception is what we got.
UPDATE: Just a few hours later another op-ed by Romney is release in the Orlando Sentinel “Rein in government – starting with Obama”
Romney gives Obama the old 1-2 with concurrent op-eds in two different publications. This newer one, by only a few hours, talks Tea Party (including the original one in Boston), GDP, ObamaCare, mind-boggling tax code, small biz and entrepreneurs.
Snippet from the Orlando Sentinel:
For the first time in the post-World War II era, there is a significant popular movement to scale back government and reduce the tax burden that has been stifling our economy. A lot of this is because members of the Tea Party are making their voices heard.
Almost 21/2 centuries after the original Boston Tea Party of 1775, the idea of limited government that inspired our forebears is very much alive. The growth of government is not some inexorable force. In a democracy, we the people decide. Thanks to the Tea Party, there’s real hope that we can rein in our profligate federal government.
But in order to make progress, we have to first rein in President Obama, whose spending binge is driving our national debt to historic highs.
These staggering new burdens are made worse by the fact that our system of taxation is killing our nation’s once-strong economic engine. The mind-boggling complexity of our tax system is only part of the problem. As of last year, the U.S. tax code had mushroomed into 71,684 pages that no one human being can fully understand. Along with complexity comes a dizzying array of perverse incentives.
A smart tax system would reward investment, savings and entrepreneurship, while providing job-creators with the predictability and stability they need to grow our economy. But our tax system is not smart; it’s quite the opposite. It needs urgent reform that reduces rates and restores a climate of confidence in our economy. With millions of Americans seeking but not finding work, a transformation of our approach to taxes is both an economic and moral imperative.
But reform requires both understanding and leadership. Unfortunately, when it comes to those qualities, we are facing Washington’s biggest deficit of all.
I particularly like that last line. Washington’s worst deficit is its leadership. In 2008 we had epic levels of debt. Obama’s spend, spend, spend policies have moved those debt levels from “epic” to a completely new class: über epic.
Below I’m cross-posting a rebuttal to a Boston Globe article. This was written by my brother and originally posted at our pro-Romney blog.
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.
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.
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.
Again I am not able to embed the codes here for some reason. You can find it at Mitt Romney Central by clicking here.
What you will find there:
1- A newscast from FOX13 in Utah about the Romney’s upcoming speech at the Salt Palace. It also video of Romney reading his book during the studio recording (and sporting reading glasses).
2- An audio segment of the entire first chapter from Romney’s new book. The segment lasts 11:30 minutes and touches on some American history in regards to wars, technology and economy.
My first impression: I’m immensely proud to be an American.
Any thoughts on the first chapter?