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April 12, 2011

Bad Medicine: RomneyCare Unpopular Even In Massachusetts

Monty sends me this tip with the subject line "Romney is doomed! DOOMED!"

RomneyCare is unpopular, and not viewed as "helping," even in Taxachusetts.

In 2008 — when Obama was running for president and Ted Kennedy was towering over the Senate — nearly 70 percent of Massachusetts voters supported the plan. A mere 22 percent of right-wing holdouts opposed it.

...

But after five years of actually experiencing this new universe, even the Kennedy Democrats have had enough. A new Suffolk University poll showed that nearly half of Massachusetts voters say the law isn’t helping, while just 38 percent say it is. As Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute pointed out, Romneycare is almost as unpopular here as Obama- care is across America.

...

Taxpayers now spend $2.5 billion more on our state’s health care budget. The direct cost of Romneycare has gone from less than $100 million a year to at least $400 million — and even that number is suspect. But we do know we’ve spent more than $35 million in a single year on health services for illegal immigrants, and tens of millions more on illegal, unallowable or outright bogus claims.

If you want to know why Romneycare’s costs keep rising, check out this simple statistic from the Patrick administration: In 2006, 85 percent of the insured in Massachusetts got their coverage through private group coverage at work. Today that’s down to 79 percent.

Meanwhile the percentage on the MassHealth dole has doubled, and more than 150,000 people are now subsidized through Commonwealth Care.

Although he can do a little blaming of Democrats and suggest that his preferred plan would have been better, there are two problems with that take: He was always on board with mandate, a rational but unpopular element of the law (and likely unconstitutional at the federal level) and whatever his preferred plan may have been, he signed this plan into law. (And, in an ancient, distant, mist-shrouded age, actually made that a central argument for his qualifications as president.)

I don't see how he can win without disowning this completely. Even if he does disown it, I'm not sure how he can win. But continuing to defend this? Seems disqualifying.

Ouch: Romney says he doesn't know if America is ready to tackle entitlements. "Soft rhetoric," a source who heard his pitch to donors and supporters said.

This is classic Romney -- cautious, calculating. I agree with his assessment that I don't know if America is ready for this -- it's probably not, and will chose ruin over action.

But leaders are supposed to lead, aren't they? Even Obama, in 2008, was willing to pay lip service to entitlement reform.


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posted by Ace at 12:20 PM

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