Thursday, March 22, 2012

Critique of Romney's Op-ed on Repealing "ObamaCare"

Source materials:
Here is Romney's article.

Here is my blog post featuring videos of Romney that I mention in my critique.
Romney is literally saying the exact opposite of what he was.

And here is my analysis as I posted it on Facebook.  I write these things fast.  So comment if there is a spelling, or grammar error.
I'm tired of this dude. In my blog post - I will put the link right here... is Romney praising Obama for the health care plan as it is being passed. Romney calling the individual mandate, "The Republican Free Market Approach." And another video on CNN of the man who worked with Romney and Obama because they both passed the same plan. (Reality Check:
 Click follow on my blog to see future posts.)

Romney calls the health care plan a "Budget busting entitlement." He says that he didn't have to raise taxes a dime to pass his. Do you know why? He lobbied the federal government for, and received funding from the federal government to pay for his health care plan.

Check out the videos in my post. It is not me. It is not some ideology. I am literally posting Mitt Romney!

Watch what he says on video. Watch another man who worked with both of them... angry and Mitt Romney for being so false. All videos are here in my post...

This is your reality check!

Remember to click follow on the blog.

Benjamin Corey Feinblum
Ps. As an independent I like a lot of Romney's accomplishments. Business, health care... etc. Probably a decent guy. But, completely lacks character to attack someone for what he praised so much. Etch-a-sketch critique = valid critique of Romney.

____  And now for critiques of specific clauses from Romney's Op-ed.
A few responses to direct elements of his Op-ed: "When I was governor of Massachusetts, we instituted a plan that got our citizens insured without raising taxes and without a government takeover. Other states will choose to go in different directions. It is the genius of federalism that it encourages experimentation, with each state pursuing what works best for them. ObamaCare's disregard for this core aspect of U.S. tradition is one of its most egregious failings." 

Romney is correct. He did not raise taxes. He lobbied the federal government for funds and the federal government paid for his insurance plan. 

Romney's statement is a mis-characterization of federalism. Each state is to experiment with the best ideas and act as the laboratories of Democracy. When "RomneyCare," led to 98% coverage in Massachusetts, with an individual mandate, and 3/4 people loving their plans - it was copied on the national level. 

In my blog post is a video with him arguing why the individual mandate and his health care plan should be taken national. 

Romney's characterization of Obama is a complete disregard for honesty. I'm telling you... I would probably like Romney if I met him. I think he's rather talented and brilliant... but come on!

"But abolishing ObamaCare will only be half the battle. Just as important is the question of what to put in its place. Instead of the massive new taxes, trillions of dollars in new spending, and top-down bureaucratic decrees of ObamaCare, we need to limit Washington's control by spurring competition, creating maximum flexibility and enhancing consumer choice."

The entire goal of Obama's plan is to spur competition and enhance consumer choice. The method. Obama's plan sets up health care marketplaces, where all the plans can be compared side-by-side within each state. The definition of complex terms will be right next to it. Those roll out shortly. 

For now, Obama created a step-by-step resource to help people understand insurance and how to keep your doctor.

At this link if you click insurance options - you can compare available plans. On the right column there is a place for you to enter your state so you can see what options you have. You can then choose from the least expensive one. This is a marketplace for you to choose the cheapest plan from with private - free market health insurance - and seeing all the prices next to each other triggers competition the same way comparison shopping for a TV online would, or on Why? Because was what they wanted to copy to make it easier for you to choose.

"I would begin by changing the tax code, which currently offers a subsidy for employers who purchase health insurance for their employees. This discriminates against individuals who want to buy insurance on their own. We should let individuals continue with the current arrangement if it suits their needs. But I would also offer a tax benefit for those who wish to purchase insurance outside their workplace."

Obama's law will offer a tax benefit to those who cannot afford insurance to help them when mandated. Why does this work? We already pay for the uninsured when they show up at the hospital. By the math it actually costs just slightly more than the cost when the government foots the bill for the uninsured - about 3% more - to cover everyone fully. 

Also, he is helping small businesses by allowing them to pool and buy insurance with collective bargaining like the big corporations do.

‎"Also, individuals are currently prohibited from purchasing health insurance across states lines, which reduces competition and makes many plans subject to expensive state benefit requirements."

The purchasing across state lines is what makes health care interstate commerce. According to the constitution the federal government is in charge of regulating interstate commerce.

There is a constitutional challenge to Obama's health care law right now. Did you know that Obama was a constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago? 

He might well have considered the constitutionality as he was doing it. He knows the constitution inside and out.

‎"Finally, we need to address out-of-control medical malpractice litigation, which is costly not only in direct terms, but also in its distortion of the way patient care is administered. We can start by capping non-economic damages, but the federal government should also encourage states to pursue additional reforms such as specialized health care courts or other alternatives for resolving conflicts." 

It has been shown that malpractice litigation has some impacts. It causes doctors to practice defensive medicine... it also raises malpractice insurance costs for doctors. The overall impact on the total cost of health care for this is negligible compared to the other issues. 

What is wrong with this promise of Romney? Feasibility.

Why? Congress is filled with the kind of lawyers who have made their living off this kind of lawsuits and other kinds as well. 

If Congress went for reforming this part it would be against all the members of Congress interest and that of all their friends from law school, from working in law, and their history within the field. 

This has the lowest probability of even being taken up on the floor of congress. 

What does have the capacity to be passed is if the most severe cases are taken out of the general malpractice insurance funds and then paid for out of a separate government set up fund. To cover the catastrophic cases. This would dramatically lower the cost of general malpractice insurance. 

What does he mean by capping non-economic damages? 
Well, real things happen. 

Real mistakes happen.

I read a story where a surgeon grabbed the wrong clip board and removed a woman's breast. She was there for surgery, but not that one! How does one... cap that? Does a man decide... that is part of some regulatory board somewhere? Who decides what the cap is? Isn't that another government intrusion into healthcare? The very thing Romney says he is against?

Romney says,"no massive diversions of funds away from Medicare." 

Did you know that Obama enforced "Pay-Go," rules for his health care plan? That everything included required another cut somewhere else? 

If you look at the spending on "Medicare Advantage," just google it. You will see that Obama cut it tremendously. This was a separate program from medicare that was functioning poorly. As Medicare itself was vastly more effective - he got rid of Advantage.

A big part of paying for the health care law was a massive cut of the current federal health care system that wasn't working well - and moving people into the part that was working more efficiently.

And what about Medicare...? Digital health records are being rolled out across the country to reduce administrative costs. They also reduce test repeats because a specialist can pull up the test a hospital did and see the results. No - expensive documents need to fly around. And as it is costly and takes time - currently - many doctors will repeat the costly test (and make money off repeating unnecessary tests). 

Furthermore, there is a shift underway to paying doctors - not based on the number of tests and procedures, but for the outcome. 
When a disease was diagnosed at a certain stage... if a doctor treats it well - he is paid for results... not for clicking test-after-test. When a hospital is at risk of going out of business... how many tests you think they click to beef up their numbers quickly?

Finally - Romney never mentions the dramatic and immediate cost of repealing Obamacare.  Or, the incredible cost we would have felt by doing nothing because insurance costs were skyrocketing.
In the third quarter of last year - US GDP was lower by half a point because we were paying less for health care... all while covering 2.5 million more young adults who are now allowed to stay on their parent's plan until age 26.

Repeal that?

So... kick all those people off health care now?  What does Romney mean?

Benjamin Corey Feinblum

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