mitt_romney

Mitt Romney, who has some experience with passing health-care related legislation, has one message for Obama: slow down. In a recent interview with Newsweek Romney cautioned Obama that taking our time to get this right and getting input from diverse groups of people is key to doing this the right way. Romney said:

I think the president ought to hit the reset button. I think it is critical that he have the participation, involvement, and support of people on both sides of the aisle, as well as people in various sectors of the health economy. If we are going to have a dramatic shift in the nature of so large a part of our economy, then it needs to be something that has been thoroughly vetted and has received great support. Out of a desire to move very quickly, while his support is highest, he has skipped the critical steps of educating, involving, and evolving his own plans to meet the perspectives of the great majority of our citizens.

Say what you want about Romney he makes a valid point in this interview. Something does need to be done about health-care in this country, there are obvious problems and faults with the system. The legislation that was eventually passed in Mass passed nearly unanimously and after a lot of careful debate and deliberation (and their program is still costly and no where near perfect). For those who think Romney is really a big flip-flopping liberal Romney says:

I’m not happy that the president wants to provide a so-called public option. There is no need for the government to become an insurance company. I’m convinced, as many before me have said, that this is a step towards a single-payer system; that it will result in billions, if not hundreds of billions, of subsidies down the road and a new entitlement, which is one of the last things America needs right now.

He’s exactly right, this so-called public option is nothing but a very large first step to socialized single-payer healthcare. You cannot have an open and free competitive system when the biggest competitor is the US government, that’s not capitalism because the government has unlimited resources to throw at the system. Romney also talks about how this current proposal has almost nothing to do with cost containment. Nothing in the bill addresses the huge problem of health related inflation or tort reform.

Romney writes in a very poignant op-ed piece what kinds of health-care reform should take place:

Republicans believe health care can be best guided by consumers, physicians and markets; Democrats believe government would do better. Some Democrats would have government buy health care for us; set the rates for doctors, hospitals and medicines; and decide what medical treatment we would be entitled to receive for each illness. If you liked the HMOs of the ’80s, you’d love government-run health care.

Democrats have been winning. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicaid bill, he estimated it would cost $500 million. Today, it costs $500 billion. Politicians have expanded government coverage to more and more people. They propose that we adopt European-style, government-financed health care. But, in some respects, they’ve already gotten us there: the government now spends more per citizen on health care than do the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom or Sweden.

But government can’t match consumers and markets when it comes to lowering cost, improving quality and boosting productivity. Compare the U.S. Postal Service with UPS and Federal Express. Stack North Korea against South Korea.

. . .

Get everyone insured. Help low-income households retain or purchase private insurance with a tax credit, voucher or coinsurance. Use the tens of billions we now give hospitals for free care to instead help people buy and keep their own private insurance. For the uninsured who can afford insurance but expect to be given free care at the hospital, require them to either pay for their own care or buy insurance; if they do neither, they would forgo the tax credit or lose a deduction. No more “free riders.”

These all sound like very conservative, capitalistic based policies and ideas. At the very least his main idea here is taken well; slow down, there is no reason (outside of Obama’s tanking poll numbers) that this legislation has to be passed by August 8th. We can take a deliberative approach to make sure that before we spend trillions of dollars we are going to actually do something that benefits our country, not bankrupts it even further.