To Fight Obamacare, Nominate Romneycare?

Early this morning, Heather Higgins pointed to a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal by Grace-Marie Turner. It elaborated on Rick Santorum’s debate points about the crucial similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare, of which there are many.

While I believe the Anybody But Romney movement…

  1. Sandy

    I am not a Romney fan, and I am sorry he has defended Romneycare,  but I am confused by the confusion.  When Romney says that “I’m proud of the fact that I put together a plan that says what I’m going to replace it with,” I assume that he is referring to the market-driven healthcare scenario he paints on  his website,  which includes the repeal of Obamacare.  What am I not seeing?

  2. Andrew Barrett

    If we are all very lucky, the Supreme Court will make Obamacare a non-issue in the upcoming election.

  3. DrewInWisconsin

    There’s a very easy solution here. Just make sure Romney is not our nominee.

  4. Pseudodionysius

    Ricochet should run a poll of all its Canadian members and ask:

    “Do you think the US will end up with Canadian style healthcare in the 2012 election?”

    My answer: Yes.

  5. jhimmi

    I think many conservatives would be outraged if their state implemented something like Romneycare.

    If Scott Walker, or Chris Christie were running for president, I imagine many moderately conservative union members would oppose them because of a perceived hostility towards unions, despite each arguing that his actions were done at the state level. The bottom line is, if the govs thought unlimited union power was a fundamentally good thing, they would have pursued different policies.

    If Romney believed that vastly increased government involvement in personal health care decisions would pervert market forces and erode personal responsibility, he wouldn’t have signed the law.

  6. Al Pipkin

    Trying to argue the differences between Obamacare and Romneycare is somewhat like arguing who makes the worlds tastiest rice cake; the differences are so subtle only rice cake-tasting experts can truly tell the difference. I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument separating the two plans that could be followed by the average American voter. Romney’s campaign had better put most of its resources toward this issue if they expect to beat back the Obama machine.If (more likely when based on the current polling) Romney becomes the GOP nominee, this will be the issue that most likely defeats him in November.

    BTW – We shouldn’t pin too much hope on the Supreme Court riding to our rescue, because they may very well produce a narrow ruling, throwing out the mandate and leaving the remainder of the O’care law as is.

  7. DrewInWisconsin
    jhimmi:

    If Romney believed that vastly increased government involvement in personal health care decisions would pervert market forces and erode personal responsibility, he wouldn’t have signed the law.

    Er . . . I’m not inclined to believe that.

  8. Stuart Creque

    Sandy, what you are not seeing – what NOBODY is seeing – is Romney saying straight-up that RomneyCare is a Frankenstein’s monster, a patchwork of pieces stitched together to form a grand failed experiment, kept alive only by the power provided by external Federal funding and ravaging the pocketbooks of Massachusetts citizens who are paying skyrocketing premiums for coverage (or paying the fine when they realize that coverage is unaffordable). When Romney repeatedly and persistently defends the Massachusetts plan rather than angrily insisting that his name be dissociated with it, the rest of us figure that the Massachusetts plan and not his website is where his proclivities and admiration lie. It’s hard for him to sell the idea that he’s not for 50-state RomneyCare when he keeps trying so hard to sell the idea that RomneyCare is really swell.

  9. Leigh

    He’ll never be able to convince conservatives that his position on health care is satisfactory or logically consistent. It’s not and it undermines his whole claim to be conservative.

    In the general, it sounds like he’s planning to say something like this:

    “We put together the plan that worked for my state. (Rattle off the standard spiel about the length of the bill, etc.) It’s a state-level plan only and the people of my state approve of it 2 to 1 (or whatever it is). You, Mr. President, imposed a federal mandate on the whole nation. You forced a plan on the people of Ohio (or Pennsylvania, or Florida) which they do not want.  I’ll repeal it, because I believe a federal mandate is unconstitutional, and that the people of each state should be able to choose the health care that works for them.” 

    That is much weaker than philosophical case Santorum could make against Obamacare.  But if independents are inclined to throw Obama out and get rid of Obamacare, I don’t see how the president has an obvious response to the federalism case.

  10. Bryan G. Stephens

    Individual Mandate = Tyranny

    Romney is for an Individual Mandate

    Therefore Romney is for Tyranny.

    Just because something is allowed by the Constitution, it does not make it right.

  11. Stuart Creque

    Leigh, I can predict Obama’s response to the Federalism case: “Well, Governor, there were 30 million people in Ohio and Florida and New York and California who didn’t have health insurance, and they’re grateful that they now do.” Remember that Obama cares not a whit for constitutionality or the will of the majority in regards to policy. It remains to be seen whether the majority of voters care about those things.

  12. BThompson

    You can attack Romneycare from the right, but Obama won’t be doing that. Obama can’t attack it from the left. You think Romney won’t be able to hurt Obama on the issue as hard as you’d like, but he doesn’t need to. He just needs to assure independents that don’t like Obamacare that they won’t have to live with it.

    The general electorate is not going to be as hung up on the differences/similarities as the GOP primary electorate is. Romney promises to replace Obamacare with something more market oriented, using competition to control costs, not bureaucrats. He won’t raise taxes nor cut medicare. He won’t require you to buy more insurance than you want. He makes reforms that delink insurance from employment, making it more portable. Those will all be popular reforms Romney can emphasize as distinctions. What’s more, where Obamacare might be fairly popular, like Massachusetts, or even swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin, Romney offers them the option at the state level to keep aspects of Obamacare. That could prove an asset in purple parts of the country.

    It’s just not that big a deal.

  13. wmartin

     Isnt Newt just as compromised, since we now know that not only has he supported a Federal (not just state) mandate for decades, but specifically advocated that a federal mandate be a part of Obamacare?

  14. Leigh
    Stuart Creque: Leigh, I can predict Obama’s response to the Federalism case: “Well, Governor, there were 30 million people in Ohio and Florida and New York and California who didn’t have health insurance, and they’re grateful that they now do.” Remember that Obama cares not a whit for constitutionality or the will of the majority in regards to policy. It remains to be seen whether the majority of voters care about those things. · 8 minutes ago

    Sure, but he’d say that to anyone.  And for that matter, Romney’s already practiced his defense — arguing that his work in MA shows that he “has compassion for the uninsured” or something like that.

    It will be difficult for Obama to argue simultaneously 1) “No, really, this guy is not that different than me.  His plan was just like mine!  He’s just lying when he says he’ll repeal my very unpopular law that you want to get rid of” and 2) “This guy is a right-wing extremist who wants to deprive poor people of affordable health care.”

  15. Leigh
    BThompson: You can attack Romneycare from the right, but that won’t be where Obama is coming from. Obama cant attack it from the left. You think Romney won’t be able to hurt Obama on the issue as hard as you’d like, but he doesn’t need to. He just needs to assure independents that don’t like Obamacare that they won’t have to live with it.

    I’d rather establish the case that a mandate is not something the government should be doing at all.  The most Romney can say is that the federal government shouldn’t.  As a practical political matter, I think you’re right — and that Gingrich is essentially equally compromised.  The only one who could make the pure principled case against it is Santorum — and he’s in third place.

  16. Stuart Creque

    Leigh, as long as Obama can say #1 (“Romney is just like me on healthcare”), he doesn’t need to say #2 (“Romney is an extremist who wants to deny poor people healthcare”). Instead, he’ll say #3: “Romney is an extremist who wants to take away women’s right to choose.” And #4: “Romney doesn’t want rich people to pay their fair share.” Of course, by then, Romney may be pretty close to Obama on reversing the Bush tax cuts…

  17. Freeven
    Leigh:

    In the general, it sounds like he’s planning to say something like this:

    “We put together the plan that worked for my state. (Rattle off the standard spiel about the length of the bill, etc.) It’s a state-level plan only and the people of my state approve of it 2 to 1 (or whatever it is). You, Mr. President, imposed a federal mandate on the whole nation. You forced a plan on the people of Ohio (or Pennsylvania, or Florida) which they do not want…”

    I’m no expert on this, but didn’t a huge amount of the funding for Romneycare come from federal dollars? Why isn’t anyone pounding the drum about this? In a very real sense, Romneycare isn’t just a state-level plan and has forced a federal mandate on the whole nation.

  18. BThompson
    Freeven didn’t a huge amount of the funding for Romneycare come from federal dollars?

    Romney has addressed this. Yes, a lot of people getting coverage under Romneycare got it through medicaid, but that is because states are required to offer medicaid by federal mandate. Romney would like to end medicaid and instead return all the money taken from state tax payers by the federal government back to states so that states can use the money their citizens pay in the manner the states choose, rather than in the manner the federal government mandates.

  19. Leigh
    DrewInWisconsin

    BThompson: You think Romney won’t be able to hurt Obama on the issue as hard as you’d like, but he doesn’t need to. He just needs to assure independents that don’t like Obamacare that they won’t have to live with it.

    How do you assure them that they won’t end up with Romneycare x 50? And forget the independents — how does he assure conservatives? How does he assure me? · 37 minutes ago

    I don’t understand.  If you mean as in 50 state plans, your defense against that is to keep conservatives in power in your state.

  20. jhimmi
    DrewInWisconsin

    jhimmi:

    If Romney believed that vastly increased government involvement in personal health care decisions would pervert market forces and erode personal responsibility, he wouldn’t have signed the law.

    Er . . . I’m not inclined to believe that. · 4 hours ago

    I think you misunderstood my probably poorly worded post. Romney doesn’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with a top-down government run healthcare system, because he signed Romneycare into law. He has no philosophical opposition to the mandate or the sense to see the camel’s nose under the tent (govt increasingly having to meddle in areas it has no business, because they’re tangentially related to health)

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