|By Evelio Perez|
President Obama has claimed that his health care plan is a lot like Mitt Romney's health care plan. This charge against RomneyCare has come from both liberals and conservatives. This is false. They are not the same for at least three crucial reasons:
1. RomneyCare is NOT the Same as ObamaCare
A simplistic description of the differences between the President's health care plan and Mitt Romney's plan is this:
ObamaCare provides coverage to the citizens via the Unites States Government.
RomneyCare provides coverage to the citizens via private sector even if government pays for it.
A more detailed analysis of why RomneyCare is Not ObamaCare is that ObamaCare seeks to provide universal coverage via the United States government. This is nothing more than a takeover of 1/6th of the American economy.
In contrast, those covered in Massachusetts are covered through the private sector. The only federal involvement in Mitt’s entire health care plan is that RomneyCare takes Medicaid funds and state money that was applied for emergency rooms and simply redirected that money to allow the poor to buy private health insurance so that tax payers don’t are not footing the bill for those people who are with out insurance and who go to the emergency room.
Thus, even though the person receives financial assistance from the government, they are getting coverage from a private insurer. Other than that small sliver of federal funding, RomneyCare relies on free market principles. There is no state government take over of health care.
2. RomneyCare was passed with Bipartisan support, ObamaCare Wasn't.
What people forget is that the people of Mass wanted RomneyCare. Only TWO members of the House and Senate voted against it. TWO. Moreover, RomneyCare passed without any backroom deals, no voting gimmicks such as "deem and pass" and it was done in a bipartisan fashion.
The same cannot be said for ObamaCare. It passed almost on party lines with all of the Republicans voting no and only 32 Democrats voting against it. But what is worse is that it was passed against the will of the American people.
3. Romney's plan is popular with its citzens, ObamaCare is not supported by the American People
ObamaCare was never popular before or after it passed Congress. After the passage of Obama’s health care plan, a national movement grew to repeal the program.
In contrast, RomneyCare has alwasy been popular.
In 2008, a poll found the following facts:
Two years after the implementation of a health care reform law aimed at providing health coverage for nearly all Massachusetts residents, public support for the law remains high. According to a new poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, over two-thirds (69%) of Massachusetts residents support the law. Just over one in five (22%) oppose the law and approximately one in ten (9%) say they do not know enough about it to give an opinion. Since the law's passage in 2006, public support has increased slightly (69% in 2008 compared to 67% in 2007 and 61% in 2006). (Source.)
RomneyCare is still popular with the citizens of Massachusetts. consider the most recent poll:
"A poll conducted this week by The Washington Post of 880 Massachusetts residents who said they voted in the special election found that 68 percent support the Massachusetts plan. Even among Brown voters, slightly more than half backed the 2006 law.” (Source.)
Unlike ObamaCare, there is no statewide movement to repeal RomneyCare.
4. Differences In Cost
Before Mitt Romney began his ambitious plan to make health care affordable for the citizens of Massachusetts, he balanced the state budget. This was to ensure that Massachusetts was in good financial health before reform was to begin. Moreover, RomneyCare was projected to cost less than 1.5% of the state budget and has fallen well within its original forecast today. (Source.)
This stands in stark contrast with President Obama who did not ensure that the country was financial sound before pushing ObamaCare through Congress in the midst of a recession, a staggering national debt and high unemployment. Now that ObamaCare has been passed, it estimated to cost the nation 2 trillion dollars. It is worth noting that the CBO estimates have always underestimated the actual cost of every entitlement program it has ever been asked to review.
5. ObamaCare is unconstitutional. RomneyCare is constitutional.
On the issue of constitutionality, the distinction between RomneyCare and ObamaCare has been pointed out over at Evangelicals for Mitt:
"the states and the federal governments have different constitutional powers. States have a general "police power," which allows them to pass laws to advance the health, safety, and (traditionally) morals of the community. The federal government is limited to its enumerated powers. Constitutional critics of Obamacare ask a common-sense question: Where in the enumerated powers of the Constitution is the federal government empowered to require citizens to purchase a product from a private entity?"
6. Complexity v. Simplicity
ObamaCare is a 2,000 page monstrosity. RomneyCare is only about 70 pages long. A simple side by comparison demonstrates this fundamental difference between the two health care plans.
7. ObamaCare Introduces Cuts to Medicaid and Social Security, RomneyCare doesn't.
Our plan did not cut Medicaid or Medicare. Obamacare will divert $1.1 trillion away from Medicare, which is barely solvent as is.
8. ObamaCare raised taxes, RomneyCare introduced no new taxes.
Higher taxes on individuals and businesses were not part of Mitt Romney's plan whereas approximately $1 trillion in higher taxes will be a huge source of revenue to fund Obamacare.
9. Obama health care plan is a federally administered plan where as RomneyCare is a health care plan only for Massachusetts.
With a state plan, citizens can vote for their feet and either stay with the program or move to another state that offers a more competitive or affordable health care plan. However, with a universal health care plan, there's no where to run. No matter what state you move to, you'll have no choice but to be covered under ObamaCare.