Today at the University of Michigan, Mitt Romney will give a speech on health care which will address both the issue of the Massachusetts health care law he enacted and what he would do with Obamacare and health care at the federal level. As a likely Republican candidate for president, Romney's biggest problem is far and away his record on health care.
On the first issue -- "RomneyCare" -- he's probably doomed, if today's brutal Wall Street Journal editorial is any indication:
Like Mr. Obama's reform, RomneyCare was predicated on the illusion that insurance would be less expensive if everyone were covered. Even if this theory were plausible, it is not true in Massachusetts today. So as costs continue to climb, Mr. Romney's Democratic successor now wants to create a central board of political appointees to decide how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for thousands of services.
The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. But by this cause-and-effect standard, Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him. Once government takes on the direct or implicit liability of paying for health care for everyone, the only way to afford it is through raw political control of all medical decisions.
Mr. Romney's refusal to appreciate this, then and now, reveals a troubling failure of political understanding and principle.
And as for his plans going forward, which he has outlined in a USA Today op-ed, it's going to be difficult -- to say the least -- for him to reconcile his support for his own Massachusetts law with the kind opposition to Obamacare that would be necessary to get through the GOP primary. Spectator alum Phil Klein said it best: "If Romney wants to repeal Obamacare, the most helpful thing he could do today is announce he isnt running for president."
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