Saturday, February 03, 2007

Romney's New Idea: Blame Others for Failure

Flip-flopping on issues is getting old. Time to try denying responsbility for things gone wrong. The Boston Globe reports today that "Romney distances self from Mass. health plan."

Romney can't exactly flip-flop on socialistic government-mandated health care insurance plans, since he was a bragging prime mover behind the new law in Massachusetts. But now that there's a cancerous new bureaucracy growing (with over-compensated executives), higher than expected subscription "fees" (read: taxes), and new definitions of "adequate coverage" -- all this bad news sending shockwaves through the state -- Romney is now trying to wriggle out of his responsibility in creating this monster. Now, instead of bragging about his brilliant new plan, he's trying to blame the Legislature for anything that's going wrong.

But denying responsibility for crafting and signing a new law will be a lot harder than flip-flopping on an issue.

Romney secured the support of the "conservative" Heritage Foundation in helping design the plan (after giving them a hefty $25,000 donation.) And until recently he has been very proud of his revolutionary approach to controlling people's and businesses' decisions on health coverage. How odd, then, that he didn't refer to his health insurance law in his recent speech at the Heritage Foundation.

Is this man qualified to be President if he couldn't imagine how this legislation would play out? He's certainly no conservative if he thinks mandatory health insurance, creating a new bureaucracy in the most corrupt state in the country, and lots of undefined requirements in a law are good things. Even the Wall Street Journal slammed Romney's health plan in an editorial last week! (a "ballyhooed health care [reform that is apolicy blunder] that won't stand scrutiny in court, much less in the marketplace"). No wonder he's trying to blame any emerging problems on the Legislature! Is he really the genius businessman and visionary manager we've been told he is?

[From the Globe:]
The healthcare law requires all Massachusetts adults to obtain health coverage that meets minimum standards as of July 1 or pay a penalty, unless they prove they cannot afford it. Businesses with more than 10 employees but without "fair and reasonable" health insurance must pay an annual fee.

Romney introduced the idea in late 2004; after the Legislature made its own adjustments, Romney signed it into law last April. The plan was phased in during the summer and fall, and about 100,000 of the state's approximately 400,000 uninsured are covered so far....

Earlier this week, however, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans estimated that more than 200,000 residents who already have health insurance will have to buy more to meet minimum standards. A state board, called the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, is still reviewing those standards, in part because of estimates that the average uninsured individual would have to pay some $380 a month [almost twice what Romney led us to believe] to obtain health coverage....

Romney has long said that the plan would suffer hiccups. But he now appears ready to blame Democrats for any of the plan's shortcomings, said state Senator Richard T. Moore, an Uxbridge Democrat and one of the plan's main architects.

"That's why he left [office] in a hurry," said Moore, the chairman of the Senate Health Care Financing Committee. "He's setting himself up so he can go either way. If it's a success, he'll take all the credit in the world. If it's a failure, he'll blame everybody else."

Moore said Romney can't hide the fact that he worked closely with Democrats to craft the law, and his administration was responsible for implementing its early stages. "If it doesn't work, it's going to be a shared responsibility," he said....

Meanwhile, from Romney's campaign web site:

Extending Health Insurance to All Americans:
The health of our nation can be improved by extending health insurance to all Americans, not through a government program or new taxes, but through market reforms.
Governor Romney: "We can't have as a nation 40 million people -- or, in my state, half a million -- saying, 'I don't have insurance, and if I get sick, I want someone else to pay." (USA Today, July 5, 2005)
Governor Romney: "It's a conservative idea," says Romney, "insisting that individuals have responsibility for their own health care. I think it appeals to people on both sides of the aisle: insurance for everyone without a tax increase." (USA Today, July 5, 2005)