Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

“On the stump Gov. Mitt Romney has touted the Massachusetts health care reforms he signed into law in 2006,” writes Jonathan Adler in an NRO The Corner post titled How Well is RomneyCare Doing?

Answer: not well.

Now I am no health care policy expert, but from what I’ve seen the reforms do not look so great as they start to take effect. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute argues the program is neither controlling costs nor achieving its goal of universal coverage. Just yesterday, AP reported “spiraling costs . . . threaten the landmark law.” (Link via BizzyBlog.) In short, it seems like Mitt’s medical reforms are no Massachusetts Miracle, and hardly a model for the country […]

Also see:

Pipes: RomneyCare a spiraling fiscal disaster; does not deliver universal coverage or meaningful structure of cost controls

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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“[Romney] takes credit for lowering premiums by as much as 50%, yet this is certainly not a statewide average. Massachusetts still has the highest per-capita health spending in the nation. The plans are deemed so unaffordable that 20% of uninsured people will not be forced to comply. Expected premiums are set as high as 8% of a person’s income — and that’s before co-pays and deductibles. And what, may I ask, is a government mandate to purchase something or pay a fine if not a tax?”—argues Sally C. Pipes, President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute, San Francisco … more

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Read about it in a Teagan Goddard Political Wire post aptly titled Romney Bungles Response to Clinton.

Also see:

Statement of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan in Reference to Misuse of Hospital as Political Backdrop for Romney Presidential Campaign Press Conference

In other healthcare related debate, DaveG of race42008.com argues that the Clinton Health Plan Requires [a] Real Republican Response, and further argues that Romney’s plan as it stands is not an adequate rejoinder. We concur.

There is also this issue: RomneyCare and HillaryCare are both based on individual mandates. So: Romney’s plan concedes in advance the core issue of whether we will be free to choose to buy in or not to the Democrats, whether Hillary or Edwards, who also favours mandates—the only operational difference between the plans is size, scope, and, hence, price, as argued by eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Romney’s Clinton Problem, a post that we would re-title The GOP’s Romney Problem.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwire – September 17, 2007) – Today Mitt Romney, a candidate for President, held a press conference outside of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan without the knowledge or consent of the hospital to make a statement regarding the healthcare debate in the Presidential campaign. As a non-profit organization, St. Vincent’s Hospital does not become involved in political campaigns. We find it unfortunate that Mr. Romney misappropriated the image and good will of St. Vincent’s Hospital to further a political agenda. While St. Vincent’s believes that there needs to be real discussion about healthcare reform and finding ways to provide coverage to the now 47 million Americans without health insurance, it is inappropriate for the hospital to be used for political gain … more

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Drawing to a close an analysis of Romney’s healthcare plan titled Romney’s Healthcare Plan: The Policies, eye of eyeon2008 concludes:

… This sounds to me like a sleight of hand. If deregulation couldn’t cover the costs in Massachusetts, the most regulated health care market in the country, why would it work anywhere else? The fact is, to pay for the health care of the sick and the poor, you need revenue. Romney achieved that through a private sector mandate (with a serious solution, which I do not think that I disagree with, in the end). The other option is tax revenue … more

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Please also see:

Pipes: RomneyCare a spiraling fiscal disaster; does not deliver universal coverage or meaningful structure of cost controls

[Update: race42008.com has released its take on RomneyCare titled: “‘RomneyCare’ Finds Broad Support, Nationwide Attention.”]

It’s one thing for politicians to promise that their mandates [Romney’s RomneyCare] will decrease costs, it’s quite another when it comes to implementing the plan, writes the estimable Sally Pipes in a townhall.com article titled Lessons from Massachusetts, and painful lessons they are.

Directions for use:

  • Go to townhall.com
  • Read this article
  • Praise its author with comments and trackbacks
  • Shout its conclusions from the rooftops

More from the estimable Pipes:

… In Massachusetts, the initial costs came in higher than expected. Faced with this reality, the bureaucrats in charge of the implementation at the Commonwealth Connector Board decided that universal coverage didn’t need to be universal after all, and it promptly exempted 20 percent or one in five uninsured from having to comply with the mandate.

The Connector Board also bowed to political pressure and agreed to reduce the premiums, a move that boosted program costs by $13 million. Some plans are totally free–and have therefore been popular. Other subsidized plans for people earning between 150 and 300 percent of the poverty line will cost people as much as 9 percent of income for just the premium. Not surprisingly, these plans have proven less popular. Of the 79,800 people who’ve enrolled in the health plans as of June 1 of this year, 59,816 signed up for the totally free plans.

This structure will produce a fiscal disaster. Considering the high premiums for those who have to pay, many will opt to remain uninsured. The fine of $216 will be more attractive than the premium. Politicians will face strong pressure not to enforce the mandate if the fines increase. Indeed, before the program started they exempted 20 percent of the target population.

At the same time, the premium subsidy makes the plans a bargain for individuals who expect to consume large quantities of health care. The insured will be older and less healthy than the average citizen. Spending will skyrocket. The taxpayer will be forced to pay or services will be rationed.

So far, this downward spiral appears to be well underway. The average age for those enrolled in the free plans is far younger than that of the plans for which a contribution is required. Not surprisingly, usage is higher for the paid plans as well.

And the doctors, they may like the plan in the short run as they will receive higher reimbursement rates for seeing Medicaid patients but in the long run, the picture is not as bright. As costs rise, they will be faced with payments being limited, rationed care, more bureaucracy, and less freedom on how they want to practice medicine.

Massachusetts may be able to limp its plan along for a few years with a combination of tax increases on employers, restrictions on enrollees, and price cuts to providers. It will not, however, achieve universal health insurance or a meaningful structure for cost control. Its most likely legacy will be to have created another government health bureaucracy, ratcheted up taxpayer health spending, and bolstered calls for a complete government takeover of health caremore

Full disclosure: Pipes is a Giuliani adviser. We have no brief for the former mayor of NYC. But we do admire his adviser on healthcare issues.

Also see:

Romney’s disastrous stewardship of the Massachusetts economy draws scorn, condemnation

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Update: eyeon08.com, in a post titled Romney’s Healthcare Plan: The Politics, addresses the sleight-of-hand of the Romney plan and reasons that—if we read eye’s analysis correctly—that Romney’s larger intention is to compete head-to-head on the healthcare issue with Obama or Hillary in the general election. The problem for Romney: surviving the primaries when the conservative base gets to have its say in the matter. Hence: all the deception.

So what does this say about Romney’s attitude toward conservatives?

We are a problem that Romney needs to solve in the short term.

In the longer term, we are disposable. Romney’s primary loyalties lie elsewhere.

See, e.g.:

On the presidential campaign trail, Mitt Romney points to healthcare reform as his major achievement as Massachusetts governor, presenting the plan as an example of how he used conservative principles to provide affordable health insurance for all state residents without a government takeover.

But he does not mention aspects of the plan that may hold less appeal for his Republican audiences, writes the estimable Lis Wangsness of the Boston Globe in a story titled Romney’s rhetoric glosses Mass. years.

For example, he decries “socialized medicine” and says the Massachusetts plan is “all a private initiative, a private-based, market-based healthcare” — omitting the fact that the state and federal governments subsidize much of the overall cost and that a public board negotiated the benefits and prices that private insurers now offer … more

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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In a tedious op-ed titled For Romney, Traction in Iowa, E.J. Dionne Jr. opines:

… The one moment in the ABC debate when Romney seemed agitated came when Brownback attacked his antiabortion credentials, and Romney went out of his way to say that his previous support for abortion rights was his “greatest mistake.” Romney knows that his very skill at political positioning could also be his undoing.

Still, when he was asked about health care, Romney rebuked conservative orthodoxy: He insisted that “tax exemptions” were not enough to cover the uninsured because “the people that don’t have insurance aren’t paying taxes.”

As a rule, Republicans don’t think much about people too poor to pay a lot in taxes. It’s another reason Romney could pose a serious danger not only to Giuliani, McCain and Thompson but also to the Democrats … more

Note how Romney’s line changes yet again on the life issue. No longer was he always personally life; he now admits that he was “effectively” pro-choice and that this was a mistake. Watch for similar concessions and casuistry as it becomes harder for Romney to maintain his SUDDEN CONSERVATISM (sort of like sudden fiction) with a straight face. Even the Eager-Genitals for Mittwit “Evangelicals for Mitt” kick Romney in the head for what they characterize as a “mistake,” like falling down a flight of stairs, and not a serious error in judgment, which is what it is.

The instability of Romney’s line—and by line I mean the “pattern of verbal and non-verbal acts by which” a user of symbols “expresses his view of [a] situation and through this [the user’s] evaluation of the participants, especially himself,” as articulated by Goffman in his Interaction Ritual—develops anew in the next paragraph. Romney reverts to his center-leftism on health care in a “rebuke” to the “conservative orthodoxy,” whatever that could possibly be. For more on this theme please see:

Romney abandons conservative line; reverts to previous line

Dionne praises the troubled candidate for his heresy and promises that the more left-center-Romney “could pose a serious danger not only to Giuliani, McCain and Thompson but also to the Democrats.” Here is the problem with this line of reasoning:

Romney outflanks himself yet again!–poll indicates Romney’s pull to the right alienates independents, centrists, and moderates

yours &c.
dr. d.g.

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First, recall the painful dialogue:

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney was about a minute into an answer about his commitment to fighting the global spread of AIDS and health care diplomacy on Wednesday when a waitress behind the counter yelled out a question … the story continues as reported by the estimable Michael D. Shear for Washingtonpost.com’s The Shear.

[Romney:] … One of the things I’m proud of doing in my state is putting on track a plan that gets everybody health insurance,” Romney began, seeing an opening for his standard stump speech about his efforts as governor of Massachusetts.

But Griffin was in no mood for platitudes, and interrupted.

“After we pay our huge deductibles for our insurance and our cost for our prescriptions, there’s nothing left,” she said.

“Are you a Massachusetts resident?” Romney asked.

“No I’m a New Hampshire resident,” Griffen said, and then added, before Romney could jump in, that “we pay over $1,000 a month for our insurance. Then we have co pays. Every time you go to the doctor, it’s $50 a visit. Then you have co-pays for our prescriptions. Can you tell me what your co pay is?”

“Yes,” Romney said. “$10 for each prescription.”

“That’s very nice isn’t it?” Griffin answered dryly.

“Yes. What are yours? Romney asked.

“Mine are like $30-$50. I have three sick children”

Etc., etc.

Now consider Aristotle’s advice on the art of dialectic (reasoning from premises that an audience accepts as true, i.e. probabilities as opposed to necessary truths):

A man should not enter into discussion with everybody or practice dialectics with the first comer as reasoning always becomes embittered where some people are concerned. Indeed, when an adversary tries by every possible means to to wriggle out of a corner, it is legitimate to strive, by every possible means, to reach the conclusion; but this procedure lacks elegance.

We ask: who was the wriggler in this sad dispute? Was it not Romney?—only he was also the disputant who most lacked elegance. Is this not also how Romney behaved in his back-and-fourth slap-fights with Obama, Brownback, Clinton et al?—like a frantic highschool debater trying to score points or get in the last word?—like a howler monkey on crystal meth, flinging his feces in all directions, to no avail (see here).

We oppose nationalizing our healthcare system. We have lived in Canada, Spain, and Germany, so we know from where we speak. And this is why we DO NOT need a Willard Milton Romney advocating for our position! The man is simply incapable of articulating an effective argument or even of maintaining a consistent line.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney was about a minute into an answer about his commitment to fighting the global spread of AIDS and health care diplomacy on Wednesday when a waitress behind the counter yelled out a question … the story continues as reported by the estimable Michael D. Shear for Washingtonpost.com’s The Shear.

The dialog is painful to read. Note how Romney tries several times to recite his talking points—in vain.

[Romney:] One of the things I’m proud of doing in my state is putting on track a plan that gets everybody health insurance,” Romney began, seeing an opening for his standard stump speech about his efforts as governor of Massachusetts.

But Griffin was in no mood for platitudes, and interrupted.

“After we pay our huge deductibles for our insurance and our cost for our prescriptions, there’s nothing left,” she said.

“Are you a Massachusetts resident?” Romney asked.

“No I’m a New Hampshire resident,” Griffen said, and then added, before Romney could jump in, that “we pay over $1,000 a month for our insurance. Then we have co pays. Every time you go to the doctor, it’s $50 a visit. Then you have co-pays for our prescriptions. Can you tell me what your co pay is?”

“Yes,” Romney said. “$10 for each prescription.”

“That’s very nice isn’t it?” Griffin answered dryly.

“Yes. What are yours? Romney asked.

“Mine are like $30-$50. I have three sick children.”

A moment later, Romney tried to get back to Massachusetts and his stump speech. “One of the things I thing is important to do–as you’ve heard me do as governor across the border–is to find a way to get health insurance for all our citizens…”

Griffin interrupted again. “Yeah, but how are all your citizens…”

“You know,” Romney quipped, “if you’d like me to answer the question I will.”

“Well,” Griffin said, “but how much are your citizens paying for deductibles? Same as you?” “Well, how much?”

Romney stumbled for a moment, then got his footing as he used the question to launch into an explanation of the need for choice in health care. “Everyone has their own plan. Because in my state there is private insurance and we get to choose the policy we’d like” … more

Does Romney sound like a leader to you? No. He sounds like an angry department of motor vehicles clerk.

For us this is yet another indication of Romney’s strange naivete—or is it hubris?—who knows?

Question: Did Romney at any moment in the conversation believe that he could say anything that could address this woman’s concerns? Did Romney at any moment in the conservations believe that the woman would be persauded from the empirical experience of her suffering by the monotone recitation of Romney’s views on policy or his achievements as a governor? Romney comes off sounding heartless, bloodless, gutless, spineless, and mindless. Anwser: Yes, apparently, Romney did believe—G-d help him, but he honestly did.

For us this further testifies to the apolitical and authoratarian instincts of Willard Milton Romney (a theme we develop here and here): Romney is unschooled, untrained, and untested in the subtleties of deliberative reasoning, the sort of reasoning that born of the habit acquired through expecting, and receiving, serious rebuttals to your claims, some that you can answer, and some that you cannot.

And this man wants to represent conservative views and policies? This man doesn’t even know himself (as we argue here), so how can he know us!? How can he represent us?!

We conclude by quoting Aristotle from his de Topica:

A man—this means you, Romney—should not enter into discussion with everybody or practice dialectics with the first comer as reasoning always becomes embittered where some people are concerned. Indeed, when an adversary tries by every possible means to to wriggle out of a corner, it is legitimate to strive, by every possible means, to reach the conclusion; but this procedure lacks elegance.

In this case it was Romney who “wriggled” and “by every possible means.” So maybe we should address our comment to the waitress who ran circles around the hapless, helpless, and hopless former governor. In any case Romney’s procedure lacked elegance. Oh my G-D did it lack elegance!

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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