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Romney's Plan:
Let States Decide

While he was governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney helped author an innovative plan that created universal health insurance in his state through a combination of tax subsidies for low-income people, expanding the number people on public programs like Medicaid and creating a state-agency that made it easier for people to buy private insurance. It's become a model for Democrats and Republicans around the country.

But if voters are looking for that kind of plan for the whole country, they should look to Barack Obama and John Edwards, two Democrats who have offered approaches to creating universal health care that would largely take the Massachusetts model to a national level.

Romney, himself a GOP presidential candidate, will outline a much more careful, limited vision for health care reform than those two Democrats in a speech today in Florida, as Republican primary voters are wary of large expansions of the government into health care.

According to his campaign, Romney will argue that a "one size fits all national health care system is bound to fail," and instead call for states to take the lead on reform.

A Romney administration would attempt to combine the money the federal government provides each state to pay for health care into block grants, which states can use to expand health insurance.

Like both President Bush and another GOP candidate, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Romney would create tax benefits for people who buy their own private insurance. He would also reduce the requirements that states and the federal government put on private plans, a measure Republicans agree will make private insurance cheaper.

In laying out this proposal, Romney is continuing his delicate discussion of the health care law he signed in Massachusetts last year. He's eager to tout his achievement as governor, where he took on a public policy issue that has bedeviled politicians on both sides of the aisle, most notably another candidate, Hillary Clinton. The New York Senator laid out a proposal to improve health care quality in New Hampshire yesterday, and will offer an agenda to cover the country's 45 million uninsured next month.

Romney has been the only Republican speaking frequently on the stump about health care so far. While he calls for national solutions on issues like education, Romney has argued health care should be handled on a state-by-state level. This allows him to avoid answering questions on whether he would require all Americans to purchase insurance -- a provision in the Massachusetts law he signed into law that might not be well received by GOP voters.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

By Washington Post editors  |  August 24, 2007; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

It's entertaining reading the blogs regarding insurance for health care.

Why don't you consider a scenario like this: We treat health insurance, like auto insurance,(AI). With AI, bad drivers pay more, good drivers pay less. Let's take the same principles and apply it to personal health insurance. GOOD drivers, with health insurance, will have normal weights, low body fat content, not smoke cigarettes, exercise 3-4 times a week etc.

BAD drivers will be obese, smoke, not exercise, consume too many harmful things like, etc.

All of of these markers can be confirmed with a traditional medical workup. If you're a BAD driver, you pay more for health insurance. If you're a GOOD driver, you pay less. If the Federal government wants to get involved, give a tax break for the insurance payments. This way, every family would be financially responsible for their health. What a thought,....being responsible for your own health.

Responsibility, and accountability, are the only things that actually change something


Posted by: dnicoletti36 | September 3, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

You're all wrong. Any system that subsidizes the profits of private "insurance" companies is corporate welfare, just like medicaid, medicare, the war on "terror" (i.e., civilians worldwide).

The fact is that people in countries with bona fide national health care don't have any less choice or longer waits than corporate HMOs routinely impose upon Americans, while health outcomes in the USA are apparently the worst among all first world nations. With real socialized (if you must) medicine nothing would prevent higher income people from paying out-of-pocket for presumably better service whenever they wanted to.

It's also obvious that most people who can't afford health insurance pay little or no income tax to begin with, and all of the candidates (except Kucinich and Paul) are proposing plans that would subsidize the people who can already afford to purchase insurance --leaving the truly needy either right where they are or forcing government to pay absurdly inflated prices for often unnecessary and unwanted treatments often in lieu of preventative, evidence-based or consumer chosen care.

The American people are being brainwashed by a congress and media that are virtual subsidiaries of corporate medicine. Wake up America, McHealthcare is a scam that imposes a literally unbearable toll on our health as well as our budgets.

Posted by: lists | August 25, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Comradcitizen has it backwards.

Hospitals, doctors, dentists, etc. charge "the rich" and those of us who have insurance, more money (for premiums and co-pays) to make up the difference between what "the poor" pay and what they need to stay in business.

That's so they will be there to help "the poor" when they need it.

Socialized medicine or The Universal Health Care System requires we all get the same quality of care, which is the worse care, and a government worker gets to tell us when we can have it and what we can have, including you.

The government gets to tell you how long you have to wait. It tells the doctors and nurses what kind of medicine they can practice and where. They may want to practice in San Francisco, but the govt. can send them to Flagstaff, AZ.

There will be no negotiating salaries. The govt. tells them what they will earn. And it will be the same no matter if you are a brilliant surgeon or an idiot who kills people in surgery.

You would know that if you had paid attention to Mrs. Clinton's "Universal Health Care Plan".

You might even try investigating the Universal Health Care Plan in Canada which the Socialist Democrats like so much or any other health care system in a Socialist country. Instead of just listening to the propaganda, try checking it out for yourself.

Posted by: observer5 | August 24, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say anything about socialized medicine. I do feel that everyone should pay the same amount for insurance and doctors and hospitals should charge one price, not one for insured patents and 500% more for uninsured patients. If everyone - yes everyone paid insurance, man woman and child - the insurance money pool would be greater and therefore cover everyone. The elimination of a vast army of middlemen would realize 100s of billions in savings.

Posted by: comradcitizen | August 24, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Comradcitizen says:
"The states have done such a fine job so far, half of the US population is Uninsured / Underinsured. More of the same is not working,, Hello - earth to whoever... Maybe try national insurance - One plan only, $50 per month, per individual for full, total insurance. Maybe add a $10 co-pay. That's it, simple and effective - it will work."

Oh, yes. Socialized medicine. Just what we need. What country are you planning on going to when the US can no longer afford to provide the medical services you need? How soon will private clinics become the rage for the rich, those who can afford procedures that your socialized medicine can no longer provide?

Posted by: ehumbert | August 24, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The states have done such a fine job so far, half of the US population is Uninsured / Underinsured. More of the same is not working,, Hello - earth to whoever... Maybe try national insurance - One plan only, $50 per month, per individual for full, total insurance. Maybe add a $10 co-pay. That's it, simple and effective - it will work.

Posted by: comradcitizen | August 24, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

This is typical...a few day ago I posted my disgust at Romney( a so-called "top-tier" candidate) for his lack if originality. He's stealing from Ron Paul's popular message.

Mitt Romney his a hollow candidate.

Wake up America!!!!!!!

http://starspangledmess.blogspot.com/2007/08/mitt-romney-is-hijaking-ron-paul.html

Posted by: ugylamerican | August 24, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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