It's a wonder that Mitt Romney has vowed to dismantle President Obama's healthcare law. Why? Because Mr. Romney's own healthcare bill for Massachusetts, signed into law in 2006, actually shares a number of key building blocks with The Affordable Care Act, including:
- Reforming the private health insurance marketplace
- Giving individuals a choice between purchasing health insurance and paying a penalty to offset their costs should they become sick
- Creating exchanges and providing financial assistance for individuals who could not otherwise afford insurance
- Relying on employer-sponsored insurance
- Expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals
In 2006, these much-needed commonsense reforms to our healthcare system were not so controversial in the eyes of conservatives.
And this approach works.
In Massachusetts there is near universal coverage—only 1.9 percent of the population remains uninsured—and over 411,000 individuals have enrolled in health plans through the state’s exchange, the Connector. Since 2005 the percentage of employers that offer insurance coverage has increased from 70 percent to 82.6 percent. Given these results, it’s not surprising that the law remains wildly popular: Polls show that over 60 percent of the state’s residents approve of the law, and only one-third oppose it.
Yet in a reversal impressive even in the world of Washingtonian politics, Romney has now joined the rest of the Republican Party in opposing the policies laid out in “Obamacare”- the very same ones used in his own Romneycare. His attack on the Affordable Care Act is now a cornerstone of his campaign for the presidency.
Romney supports healthcare policies that will hurt tens of millions of Americans. Romney's proposals will:
- fail to address the issues of affordability and access to care
- support Medicare “premium support” and Medicaid block grants which will increase premiums for seniors and shred our nation’s health care safety net
- only allow children to stay on their parents’ plan for two years after they’re no longer claimed as a dependent or until they turn 26, whichever comes sooner
- follow the premium support plan put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which will limit the amount of the vouchers provided to beneficiaries, essentially costing new beneficiaries more than $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050
- replace guaranteed federal funding with block grants to states, which would shift costs to states, which are already under enormous strain. According to the Congressional Budget Office, states would be forced to reduce eligibility, benefits, or payments to health care providers. More than 19 million Americans would lose coverage in 10 years
- allow private plans to “cherry pick” healthier seniors—driving up premiums for those who remain in traditional Medicare
- likely cut Medicaid by more than $1.4 trillion over 10 years
To see how Romney's current plan for healthcare will affect a woman throughout her lifespan, go here.
America needs to pay close attention to the specific plans Romney has in mind for our country if he were to win the 2012 election. With Romney’s recent pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate, it’s clear his view of how to “fix” America is to wipe out middle-class protections like Medicare in order to ensure the 1% can keep their tax cuts.
The facts show that President Obama's actions while in office, as well as his plans for the future, are what's best for working families and middle class America.