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June 04, 2012

Romney Appoints ObamaCare Supporter To Head His Transition Effort

Mike Leavitt, former Governor of Utah and HHS Secretary Under George W. Bush, is heading up planning for Mitt Romney's transition effort should Romney win.

It turns out he's a big supporter of ObamaCare and has been fighting to have states implement the "exchanges" which are the mechanism the federal government will use to regulate personal insurance once the law is fully in force.

Ben Domenech, who has been a guest poster here and who does health care policy work for a living lays out some the "highlights" of Leavitt's support for the law.

Leavitt’s status as one of the few Republicans supporting Obamacare implementation has been a matter of significant concern for those on the right, as he and his consultancy represent the most prominent figures in the party urging states to bow to Washington’s wishes in this regard. I wrote about his work here, but here are a few examples:

Last year he spoke to the National Governors Association, urging “the governors not defend their ‘partisan flags’ over the interests of their states.”

A month later, Leavitt wrote: “I’m surprised that many states are waiting for the political stars to align and produce repeal or a major revision. Some are doing little of substance, hoping that the federal government will relax the calendar. Both approaches are a mistake. Smart states will proceed to develop exchanges based on a strategy of self-determination and the benefits that come from enhancing insurance offerings within their states.”

It’s little surprise Leavitt and his staff decried the conservatives arguing against implementation. “In recent weeks health insurance exchanges have become the target of those who oppose Obamacare. This is very unfortunate as exchanges make sense for a number of reasons and exchanges should not be used as a scapegoat to defeat Obamacare… Regardless of your opinion of Obamacare, exchanges just make sense.”

They suggested that “Resistance to exchange establishment also seems to come from a general aversion to change.” They scoffed at the policy wonks: “When you work at a think-tank, it’s really easy to come up with these really high-risk plans.”

There's a lot more at the link.

Consider this, Leavitt is to the left on ObamaCare of Mr. RINO Chris Christie.

When I heard about Leavitt I just thought he was in it to make a buck for his consulting firm but really opposed ObamaCare like every other Republican in the country. That's simply not the case.

Mike Leavitt, the former secretary of HHS under President George W. Bush and current Romney adviser, said the federal government's historic $15 trillion debt will drive “hard” changes in healthcare system to reduce its costs. Those changes, including moving across healthcare from a fee-for-service model to outcomes based payment, may be facilitated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Romney has repeatedly urged repeal and replacement of the law.

The law “gives the secretary authority to do certain things that are clearly aimed at trying to move us in this direction,” he said in a brief interview after addressing a Washington gathering of the Cancer Action Network. “A lot of it will depend on how aggressively the secretary chooses to use the authorities in the law to move us in that direction.”

So Leavitt's concern about ObamaCare was that Kathleen Sebilius might not be aggressive enough in using the power given to her by ObamaCare? Was that your first reaction or the reaction of any conservative/Republican you know?

Romney's camp says don't worry, only Mitt makes decisions and he's on board with repeal.

Romney says the right things about ObamaCare (usually) but his actions on healthcare reform, including picking a transition director who is thought to be a leading candidate to be his Chief of Staff often are at odds with his words.

I was torn about whether or not to post this but I think it's important enough. I was on a self-imposed hiatus from posting about Mitt for most of the primary season. I'm happy to help by hitting the MFM, Obama and The Democrats but saying something nice about Mitt is usually a bridge too far for me. Since he's "our" guy though, I wasn't looking for reasons to hit him.

I'm not trying to re-litigate the primaries. Mitt won and we have to make the best of that. But I seem to remember the deal was if we nominate Mitt we would have to hold his feet to the fire. Well, this is one of those times. If we don't do it now because we have to beat Obama, we'll never do it. There will always be a reason to cut him some slack. We either are serious about keeping him on the straight and narrow or not.

Personnel is often policy, especially when it's the guy staffing the whole administration.

I think this is worth taking Mitt on over. If not now, when?

You can say, "well, we need a conservative Congress to keep Romney in line". That's true put it's hard to keep several hundred legislators in line all the time. It's easier to keep one guy in check, especially now when we have the power.

Added: Just to be perfectly clear- I'm not saying don't work for Mitt or to not vote for him if you live in a swing state. I'm saying we need to keep him on a short leash and make it uncomfortable for him when he strays too far.

Can you imagine in 2008 if Obama named as his transition director someone who supported the Bush Tax cuts? No you can't. Why should we accept this?

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posted by DrewM. at 10:23 AM

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