Health care reform is here to stay

Mitt gives in.

No, I don’t know who’s going to win this election. And yes, it’s bad enough if the United Wingnut Front holds on to the House.

But Mitt Romney’s appearance on Meet the Press this morning marked an epoch.

Well, I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their– their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.

Note that Romney treats Obamacare – even the provisions that have yet to take effect – as both a measure of “reform” and as the status quo, containing things he doesn’t want to “get rid of.” And of course you can’t rally have coverage for pre-existing conditions and insurance disconnected from employment without a purchase mandate, or a purchase mandate without some cross-subsidy, as a Republican governor of Massachusetts discovered.

So Obamneycare – which the wingnuts think is the end of the Republic – is here to stay. And we wouldn’t have it if Obama hadn’t pushed for it, early and hard.

The notion that progressives need to hold their noses to vote to re-elect a man who belongs on George Will’s list with Wilson and FDR and LBJ would be funny, if the stakes weren’t so high.

Update Commenters note that the wingnuts promptly made Romney take it back by saying – through an anonymous spokesgeek talking to NRO, as opposed to the candidate himself on Meet the Press that he expected the market to do all that good stuff, except for the pre-existing conditions rule, which would apply only to those who have been continuously insured. So it now turns out that Romney was for health care reform both before and after he was against it.

Doesn’t matter a damn. If Obamacare is “reform,” and if its “good parts” are the status quo that needs to be maintained, then the Good Guys have won.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “Health care reform is here to stay”

    1. One of our clever commenters (I’m sorry I can’t trace which one koreyel here) added the essential twist that Romney is a Schrödinger’s-cat quantum weather vane, existing in a superposition of all directions at once until collapsed by an observation-question into whatever pleases that particular audience most.

  1. Perhaps you haven’t seen NRO’s post 5 hours ago:

    In reference to how Romney would deal with those with young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney’s position and that “in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.”

    He is still counting on the marketplace to cure all ills. It hasn’t done it thus far, but it will if only Romney gets elected seems to be their thinking.

  2. If the main features of the ACA are ‘here to stay’, and I would agree and/or assert that they are, then what makes the “stakes so high”? Even if Mittens wins and has a slim majority in the Senate, total repeal is simply not in the cards. Why even our spineless Democratic US Senators might be emboldened to actually filibuster such an attempt! Certainly not a desired outcome, but great political theater.

    1. One word: reconciliation.
      A second word: executive appointments to the HHS, as with Bush’s Justice Department, Interior, Treasury, FEMA, etc.

  3. He flipped, then he flopped, and now he’s back in flipland.

    On Meet The Press, he said that people with pre-existing conditions will still be able to get insurance in Romneytopia, after he repeals the ACA.

    Then, as the above commenters reported, his anonymous spokesperson said that his position was unchanged, and the Free Market Fairy would supply insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.

    But wait! Now NRO is reporting that he is going back to (what he claims is) his original position: “So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition and let’s say they lose their job or they change jobs, they move and they go to a new place. I don’t want them to be denied insurance because they’ve got some preexisting condition. So we’re going to have to make sure that the law we replace Obamacare with assures that people who have a preexisting condition, who’ve been insured in the past are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve.”

    And people who haven’t been continuously insured, because they lost their job because they were sick, and couldn’t get a new one? Out of luck in Romneytopia.

  4. Everybody has to believe in something. Mitt Romney believes he would like to be President. Period. Once that goal is accomplished he will sign any damned piece of BS a GOP congress hands him. As Grover happily pointed out, he has ten fingers.

  5. I know that this question will be deemed by many to be unduly personal, but how does Romney maintain medical insurance on his wife? My guess is that it’s a perq that is afforded the Romney family via his withdrawal from Bain. After all, she was diagnosed with MS in 1998 and treated for breast cancer in 2008. Thus, as a practical matter, the Romneys would be uninsurable outside of a group.

    The part of the ACA that Romney now claims that he would retain (continuation of insurance notwithstanding health problems that arise after the policy is initially acquired) would protect him and Ann, but not anyone who is currently uninsured. This is simply another example of his basic “I’ve got mine, but going forward we have to close the door for everyone else” philosophy.

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