We at the Rio Grande Foundation don’t really get too caught up in politics per se or the latest presidential contenders, but some comments made by Mitt Romney caught our attention recently. For those of you who don’t know the history, Romney supported and signed into law legislation in Massachusetts that has many similarities to the health care legislation that President Obama eventually signed into law. Romney is running for president and has been defending his support for the legislation recently.
There is no question that RomneyCare and ObamaCare both rely on “command and control” policies made by government officials. There is almost nothing in either bill that uses pricing or market forces to lower costs and improve quality in health care. Rather, both laws use rationing and cost-shifting in what — at least in Massachusetts, where the impact is already being felt — is proving to be a futile effort to force costs down.
So, what does RomneyCare have to offer that ObamaCare does not? Quite simply, the only positive is that Romney experimented at the state level. And, were federal health care laws left the same as they were, other states would be able to learn from Romney’s failure and (hopefully) go in a more market-friendly direction. Unfortunately, Obama has doubled-down on Romney’s failed experiment and is now forcing it on the rest of the country.
I doubt that conservative voters will appreciate this nuance in a presidential primary, but that is another question that will be answered in several months.