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Honey, I Blew Up The State!

I've long been a fan of Mitt Romney. I respect the guy. He was a very successful businessman who also saw his duty to give back to the people by serving in public office -- like his father. It's an American form of noblesse oblige.

It helps that he's a Mormon. The Mormons have some of the silliest, most absurd beliefs this side of Scientology, but pretty much every single Mormon I've ever met or heard of (short of Harry Reid and a couple of others) have been sober, upright, honest, honorable, decent, trustworthy people. Who happen to believe some very silly things. But I tend to judge conduct over beliefs, so I don't hold that against them.

Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, and during that time he signed that state's universal health care plan. And at that time, I had a pretty good idea of how that came to be.

When Romney was governor, he had very little real political clout. He had the "bully pulpit" and considerable executive experience, so he could quite often outmaneuver his Democratic opponents, but in the end, hard numbers set the rules.

During Romney's term, the Democrats held over 85% of each of the Houses. That means that Romney could have the support of every single Republican and 20% of the Democrats, and they could still override his vetoes. So he had to choose his fights very, very carefully, because if too many of his vetoes got overridden, it would snowball and he would lose what little real power he had.

When the health care plan started brewing, I could almost hear Romney's cool calculations. "This is going to pass, no matter what I do. So my choices are to take a principled stand and oppose it, or let it be known I'm open to the matter -- and then negotiate away the worst parts of it in exchange for my signature at the end."

In brief, Romney was facing down a rampaging bull. He could either stand up and get trampled, or jump aboard and hope to steer it away from where it could do the most harm.

In the end, Romney won some compromises, but signed off on what now a lot of people like to call "RomneyCare."

And it's turning into the disaster that a lot of us said it would be. For the first few years, the state managed the costs thanks to some hefty funds from DC, but they've dried up. The costs have been considerably higher than projected. And it's led to a lot of situations that we detractors predicted would happen, and the backers pooh-poohed.

Businesses have run the numbers, and realized that they were paying more in premiums than they would pay in fines if they dropped their coverage -- and have dropped it, knowing the state would pick up the slack.

Individuals have run the numbers, and realized that they, too, would pay less in fines than they would in premiums -- and dropped their coverage. It's not much of a risk -- should they get sick, they can then sign up immediately for coverage, as the state banned limits on "pre-existing conditions" and waiting periods.

Insurers have seen that the state will be setting their rates based on political pressures, in utter disregard of the profitability -- or survivability -- of the insurers. So they've cut back on their offerings, threatened to stop offering health insurance in Massachusetts, or just gone ahead and done so.

And the legislature is looking at huge budget shortfalls as "RomneyCare" sucks up more and more and more money each year.

As I said, I had inferred Romney's reluctant participation in the plan that bears his name. But it seems I was mistaken, because that's not what Romney apparently implied.

No, if you ask Romney today about the Massachusetts plan, he insists that he's proud of it and that it will work.

Sorry, Mitt. As long as you're willing to keep ownership of the disaster that is the Massachusetts health care "reform," which serves as a stark warning as to what we can all expect from ObamaCare, you're off my list of candidates I can support in 2012.


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Comments (35)

Hmmm? Big government conser... (Below threshold)
914:

Hmmm? Big government conservative. Scratch Romney and McCain. Who else ran again?

Big gov conservative? Is th... (Below threshold)
914:

Big gov conservative? Is that possible or an oxymoron?

He needs to just call it th... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

He needs to just call it the disaster it is ... take the heat and move on if he wants to run in 2012 ...

I, too, like Romney. But un... (Below threshold)
RB:

I, too, like Romney. But unless he "refudiates" RomneyCare (ObamaCare Lite?), running in 2012 would be a complete waste of his time and money.

Sorry, Mitt. As long as you... (Below threshold)
firefirefire:

Sorry, Mitt. As long as you're willing to keep ownership of the disaster that is the Massachusetts health care "reform," which serves as a stark warning as to what we can all expect from ObamaCare, you're off my list of candidates I can support in 2012.

Mine too.

His only hope for future na... (Below threshold)

His only hope for future national relevance in the party and electoral viability is to defend his signing of Romneycare on Tenth Amendment grounds. I have yet to hear him make that argument. Though, maybe he has and I missed it.

Romney is a good fiscal man... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Romney is a good fiscal manager but he tried too hard to work with the liberals in MA. As such, they effectively steamrolled him.
Then again, I'm not sure if anyone can work with the incredibly screwed up Ma legislature. Even Patrick is having problems.

Still, the fact that Romney brags about Romneycare is another reason not to vote for him.

Shame really. He's a good man who knows how to manage.

Romney impresses me as a ty... (Below threshold)
oldpuppymax:

Romney impresses me as a typical Country Club, liberal elitist, far more interested in attending the "right" cocktail parties and garnering favorable coverage from an adoring media than taking a resolute stand against the hyper arrogant and the power mad. His "signature issue" can go down in flames and take tens of thousands with it for all he cares, just as long as he can plausibly deny all ultimate responsibility.

So is "RomneyCare" bigger ... (Below threshold)
914:

So is "RomneyCare" bigger then the "BigDig" boondoggle? On and on with no end in sight?

Can you imagine what "BarryCare" will look like in 2 years? He's already extended national debt to 22 trillion out 20 years and he is just getting started.

My God, what has Indonesia/Hawaii unleashed on us all?

He was never on my list in ... (Below threshold)
Roy:

He was never on my list in the first place.

Detest Romney. Detest how ... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Detest Romney. Detest how he railroaded the admittedly not ideal Jane Swift in order to run for Presi- er, governor and give bac- er, I mean enhance his resume. Detest RomneyCare, even as good as it was to us when we had it - apart from learning it actually WON'T pay everything and being left with almost 5k in bills we will never be able to pay - as a matter of principle. Bad as Coakley was, wish we hadn't had to settle for the guy who helped his buddy Romney architect RomneyCare. Kind of funny, sending THAT guy to the Senate. Romney will never get near the Presidency if I can do anything to stop it. You can be a M*rm*n and still be too slick, too power hungry, too unprincipled, and too out of touch, even if you're no John Kerry.

This is what's wrong with R... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

This is what's wrong with RINOs. Even if they are not the slimey kind that have no convictions. Even if they are what JT imagines Romney to have been doing in this case.

When you start making deals with the Democrats to mitigate the damage their big government projects will do, then your side is held equally culpable by the public for the mess that emerges. And rightly so. We need a choice in the ballot box, and some guy who goes along with the other side, for whatever reason, robs us of that choice. Fight the good fight, and if we lose, well then we are in a much better position when the statists' projects explode in their faces. We can then credibly say we are the alternative.

Ronmeycare is the trainwrec... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Ronmeycare is the trainwreck that Obamacare will become. But what is the solution for the healthcare crisis? Repeal won't be enough.


Personally, I know it is politically impossible, but I think the best solution could a combination of the Canadian single-payer and Brazilian two- tier healthcare system while preserving the high tech, good quality care of the American private system of those Americans let us say 35% who want to continue or can afford to pay the high premiums. Those working class or middle class citizens could opt out and receive the free universal benefits at public facilities that those on medicare and medicaid already receive, who today make up almost 30% of the population. There would be no mandates or incentive to go on welfare or medicaid.

US corporations, who are at a huge unfair global competitive disadvantage would get larger tax breaks for continuing with group private plans and employees who didn't want to pay the premiums or deductions say of 5% of their salaries, could opt out, with small compulsory deductions of 1% of their salary for the universal 'free' health plan.

Sure taxes would go up, but people for the most part would be paying less out of their pockets for healthcare and insurance companies would still be in the game and there would be little incentive to 'gaming' the system.

Jay, I remember a good whil... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Jay, I remember a good while back, early in Romney's campaign for Prez, you defended his involvment in The MassCareMess in the same manner you did in the beginning of this piece. At the time, though, you didn't end your article the same way. I'm glad you came around. He was defending Mass Care from the first bit of criticism he got for it. It turned me off immediately. And the fact that he still won't admit it's a turd, solidifies it for me.

Of course, I could just be having another memory spazz about one of your pieces.

But hey, ...

Romney will never make it i... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Romney will never make it in a general election compaign. Romney care is alreaqdy a disaster here and people will not trust someone connected to a socialized health care plan. He's VERY much a big government politician and he does not show any sign of understanding the public mood. Somebody like Pawlenty, who actually seems to get it would be better.

"Sorry, Mitt. As long as... (Below threshold)
Dane:

"Sorry, Mitt. As long as you're willing to keep ownership of the disaster that is the Massachusetts health care "reform," which serves as a stark warning as to what we can all expect from ObamaCare, you're off my list of candidates I can support in 2012."

I'm sure he's terribly disappointed he doesn't have your endorsement. Of course, you no doubt didn't support him in 2008 either, so now he's doubly-disappointed he hasn't won you over.

But it would have been nice if you included some facts in your article, Mr. Tea. You rail on about how it's broken and how it's failing - no statistic or who it is serving or not serving - no dollar amounts to go with you sweaty-necked railing on about how bad it is.

At least you didn't make up facts - you just left them out completely.

You could have at least also told your readers that Obama is a muslim - while you were leaving out facts...

If anyone took the time to ... (Below threshold)
Dandini:

If anyone took the time to check into it, the healthcare plan of Romney was working, and within budget. Then after he left, the Democratically controlled government tweaked it and financially it went into a dive. Go figure.

Who has a history of financial success better than Romney and is going to run for President? Who?

As a highly successful leader in business, he made money by turning around financially struggling companies such as Monsanto, Dominos Pizza, Burlington, Corning, and others, saving thousands of jobs.

Later he ran a venture capital firm which provided money to numerous startup companies such as Staples Office Supplies, enabling them to expand and create thousands of more jobs. During the 14 years he headed the company, Bain Capital's average ANNUAL rate of return on investments was 113 percent.

As Governor of MA, he worked to turn around the state's economy from a few billion dollars deficit to a surplus, balancing their budget in less than 4 yrs. And never accepted a salary while in office.

When the 2002 Winter Olympics struggled under scandal and financial disaster he went to Salt Lake, took over for a one (1) dollar salary, leading it to be one of the most financially successful Olympics in US history.

What is wrong with America today? It's still the economy, stupid!

Chris Christie/Michelle Bac... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Chris Christie/Michelle Bachmann '12

Let's see, Dane...... (Below threshold)

Let's see, Dane...

I'm sure he's terribly disappointed he doesn't have your endorsement. Of course, you no doubt didn't support him in 2008 either, so now he's doubly-disappointed he hasn't won you over.

January 3, 2008:

According to my heart, I should cast my vote for Mitt Romney. He is the candidate whose positions most closely resemble my own. While he is trying to cast himself as a conservative (much like I tend to be cast as such), he's far more muddled, middle-of-the-road, and pragmatic than that. I don't see him as having an overarching ideology, but rather a set of core principles that he weighs each issue upon and decides each on their own merits. He also has a central competency, a gift for management, that tends to get things accomplished no matter the level of opposition. He will take whatever situation he is given and work with it to achieve his goals, often in a way that either sweeps his opposition along with him or by presenting such strength that they dare not openly cross him. I saw it several times in Massachusetts, when the legislature was overwhelmingly against him -- some of his greatest accomplishments were in the latter half of his single term, after the Democrats had taken enough seats in the House and Senate to override his vetoes on any strictly partisan vote. Romney would probably be the best equipped to deal with a Congress run by Democrats.
You could have at least also told your readers that Obama is a muslim - while you were leaving out facts...

January 26, 2010:

President Obama is not a Muslim. In America, one's own spiritual status is strictly one's own decision. One cannot be compelled to be part of a faith against their will. President Obama has stated, clearly and repeatedly, that he is not a Muslim, therefore he is not.

...

I'm going to speculate a bit. Obama is agnostic because he doesn't care. Until he moved to Chicago and started planning his public career, he didn't care much about religion. He joined Reverend Wright's church and bonded with Wright because he saw it as politically advantageous to cultivate that association. Later -- much later -- that association started to be a detriment, so he dumped it without a second thought. And since by that time he had achieved his life's goal with the presidency, he saw no need or advantage in finding a new church to join. He didn't think his family -- especially his children -- would benefit from belonging to a Christian community. So he's pretty much ignored the whole religion thing, occasionally popping into this church or that church for a photo op, having his flacks talk about how he's having his spiritual needs met with e-mailed devotionals and private prayer, and whatnot.

Are you really that stupid, Dane? Is that even possible?

J.

I would dispute that MassCa... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I would dispute that MassCare's failure is the result of 'tweaking' after Romney left. It doesn't work and insurance in Mass. is generally disfunctional. Most major carriers stay out of the state because the government has put on huge burdens for out of state companies.

Romney has been successful in business. No one disputes that. But he is wishy washy politically. People don't want someone to come in and say, "I know how to make socialized medicine work. Let me tweak obamacare so it works better." People want it repealed. Romney has shown all the markings of a big government republican. He has not presented anyone with the image of someone interested in reducing the regulatory burden on business.

Americans want someone to cut spending and reduce government. We want someone to reduce government intrusion into our lives and businesses. We want someone to secure the boarder.

I haven't seen Romney take an unequivocal stand on any of these. He wants to be all things to voters. That's a sign that he won't be much of anything once elected.

Romney could have made a re... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Romney could have made a reasonable argument that the extra bennies the Democrats added to his plan, combined with their refusal to grant premium increases to keep up with costs, caused the problems it is now experiencing and make its future questionable.

But he didn't. He still defends it altogether, and state health care solutions cannot work. The only reason the entire world of socialized health care hasn't collapsed is they have had the USA to research new drugs, devices, and techniques which they can then purchase at marginal cost without the capital investment of research and testing. With ObamaCare, the capital for that research will disappear, innovation will stagnate, and people will die unnecessarily.

The best health care reform is to force the bureaucrats and the lawyers to stay the heck away from it.

Romney, If he was honest, ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Romney, If he was honest, would just say "he was for socialized healthcare, before he was against it", instead of this rope-a-dope, boxing and weaving on the subject, that would make Muhammed Ali proud but no one else. See video ;it is rather funny.

Chewie, I blew up the Natio... (Below threshold)
914:

Chewie, I blew up the Nation!

Oh joy, someone with little... (Below threshold)
mvargus:

Oh joy, someone with little understanding of economic realities puts together a proposal that is impossible in any economic climate, but of course he starts off saying its politically impossible.

Personally, I know it is politically impossible, but I think the best solution could a combination of the Canadian single-payer and Brazilian two- tier healthcare system while preserving the high tech, good quality care of the American private system of those Americans let us say 35% who want to continue or can afford to pay the high premiums.

Interesting idea, but Canada isn't really "single payer" its a monopsony (sp) Where there is only one buyer. The government pays for everything so its the only buyer and gets to set the prices. The problem is that health-care is not a sports league where there is incentives to pay those selling you their services a ton of money. In sports we see how free agency has broken the old system where basically a single owner had full possession of a player's career and could underpay him almsot at will. However, while unions can form and fight the onwers in football or baseball, doctors can't really form a union and tell the government that they won't heal the sick until the pay gets better. Instead, they close their shops one by one. We already see that in the US where doctors fed up with Medicare and Medicaid payments constantly being lowered refuse to see new patients on those programs.

Those working class or middle class citizens could opt out and receive the free universal benefits at public facilities that those on medicare and medicaid already receive, who today make up almost 30% of the population. There would be no mandates or incentive to go on welfare or medicaid.

It hasn't been made public, but most counties are looking to unload their hospitals because they are losing money on them. Should your "policially impossible" plan actually pass, the public hospitals would all be gone within 2 years. They would jsut lose too much money to justify remaining open. There is a floor for doctor and nurses salaries and most public hospitals are already at it. If they had to ask for more time from these professionals without paying them more, they would quit to find a less stressful job.

US corporations, who are at a huge unfair global competitive disadvantage would get larger tax breaks for continuing with group private plans and employees who didn't want to pay the premiums or deductions say of 5% of their salaries, could opt out, with small compulsory deductions of 1% of their salary for the universal 'free' health plan.

US corporations are at a unfair global competitive disadvantage because the US government taxes them at a higher rate than most other developed countries and then taxes their overseas earnings. There is a reason why more than a few US corporations have staged hostile takeovers of European companies and then had the European company become the parent company. They actually pay less in taxes if they do that. Its a popular fiction to say that lack of government funded care is the reason, but every nation offering universal care gets the money through that via taxation. Its all the other spending that kills the US. Healthcare is only a problem because of the insurance mandates that drive up the cost of the insurance. If the mandates were removed and it became catastrophic coverage rather than the frankestien HMO it is now, the premiums would drop dramatically.

Sure taxes would go up, but people for the most part would be paying less out of their pockets for healthcare and insurance companies would still be in the game and there would be little incentive to 'gaming' the system.

13. Posted by Steve Crickmore | September 2, 2010 4:27 PM |

Taxes are already too high in the US, and its dragging the economy down. Raising them for any reason at this time will only reduce revenues in the long-term and increase the pain. We need to see government stop trying to be mother and father and instead return to being the impartial arbiter of justice that it needs to be for true justice to prevail.

Speaking of train wrecks, ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Speaking of train wrecks, Jay, will slang me and deservedly, for going off topic, but Mitt Romney and his healthcare Uturns are hardly topical- until the Presidential campaign begins in earnest in 2012, what more can you say.

Romney as the GOP nominee for 2012, is still a strong possibility, when you consider the talent of the other possible candidates? I don't think it can be Tea Partier or someone other than in the mainstream of the party, and certainly not governor Jan Brewer(R) of Arizona.

It's the Palinization of politics. Sharon Angle, Jan Brewer, just go down the list. Ignorant know-nothings who spew the right-wing talking points, refuse to take questions from the press, and when off-script, are seen for the train-wreck that they are. Yet half the country embraces these clowns. It's terrifying.

#25Im sure ... (Below threshold)
914:

#25


Im sure if Americans had the choice today between Kenyan 3rd world leadership and Palinization. It would be a landslide for Palinization over Kenyan causation.

That's not much of a choice... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

That's not much of a choice 914, but even accepting your paradigm, Palin with all her sound and fury seems just as 'empty' as Obama, and has a much worse temper.

mvargus, as I understand th... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

mvargus, as I understand the US a has a high corporate tax rate ,35% , but with many deductions avaiable, the effective corporate tax falls to 28%, still too high.

I agree the feds needs to be first and foremost 'the impartial arbiter of justice'. But with the donut 'healthcare crisis, "virtue is its own deterrent". The very poor and rich affluent have no problems, its the stugggling middleclass that does, and those below the medicare threshold age of 65.

The present system discriminates against free working enterprisers who are too honest, by declaring they are making just enough, not to go on medicaid. In Canada or Brazil, everyone has the same rights to free healthcare as the non-working or working poor. The American present system permits by law people, even illegals, to be treated at the emergency wards of the hospital, so the public hospitals get stuck with their bills if they aren't reimbursed, another reason hospitals are going broke and the patients that do pay their huge bills are effectively subdizing those that can't or won't. In short, the present system is every bit, the trainwreck that Obamacare or Romneycare is.

Steve, go ahead and tout th... (Below threshold)

Steve, go ahead and tout that Palin article as gospel. Even some of her worst critics are calling it a dishonest hatchet job, and a pack of lies.

That you're recommending it says that you don't care so much about its accuracy, as long as it trashes someone you want to see trashed.

J.

Romney's support of the TAR... (Below threshold)
Alan Orfi:

Romney's support of the TARP program as well as global warming initiatives may also be deal-breakers with Republican voters. His latest book "No Apologies" indicates he is going to make a hard left turn into the "moderate" slot for his run at the Republican nomination. Ironic, given how he (rightfully) criticized McCain for the very same thing.

.... Mr Romney, as long as ... (Below threshold)

.... Mr Romney, as long as you own the Massachusetts "health care" scam that starkly warns of Obamascare, you're off my list of candidates in 2012 ....

But why stop at 2012?

"every single Mormon I've e... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"every single Mormon I've ever met...have been sober, upright, honest, honorable, decent, trustworthy people."

Ok. Same here.

"Ever heard of"

Like your grip on Islam, woefully, willfully uninformed. You are a squish, a flaccid, self-deluded humanist. Reluctantly correct about Romney's unsuitablity for POTUS.

Why, I think your momma told you to be careful of strangers and this suppressed wisdom leaks thru in the end. But your reasoning accomodating your altruistic impulse is a mess.

"Chris Christie/Michelle Ba... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"Chris Christie/Michelle Bachmann '12"

Pretzel? Too self-effacing, fiscal wiz/social moderate with Cheney attack dog. That's genius.

Jay, sure the public likes... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, sure the public likes to read about 'warts and all', though I like Sarah Palin, (in the main), as a person, or thought I did. She has courage and spontaneity, and after all she won 'Miss Congenality' in a state beauty pagent.

Her political ideas, I naturally don't care for, but although I had read before rumblings of her princess -like bearing, her spending sprees and rock star demands, well, I am a little surprised, that money and fame seems to have changed her so if this account, can be corrobarated and I believe it can be.. Sarah never talks about being nice, it is all about being a pitbull, shooting moose from helicopters and so on, what do you expect?

Gross says he wanted to write a positive portrait. Hey, I doubt that; he seems to like to take the piss or mickey out of people. Not much to go on his resume except, he has a tendency to write about gays and women.

Mitt Romney boasting that h... (Below threshold)
hgsongkang:

Mitt Romney boasting that he is the architect of ObamaCare

"He's (Obama) saying that I was the guy that came up with the IDEA for what he did. He can't have it both ways. If ever again somewhere down the road I would be debating him, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO TAKE CREDIT FOR HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT (ObamaCare)."
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/10/us/politics/10romney.html?_r=1

Romney's greatest gift to the American people - ObamaCare




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