Long, long ago, in a fantasy world far, far away (2010), a man named Mitt was trying twisted logic on questions regarding the health care law, insisting that there are differences between Romneycare and Obamacare, but admitting there are similarities and that the mandate is a good thing.
(Via Under the Mountain Bunker)
ROMNEY: "The similarities are that we have an incentive to become insured. And the incentive works - we have 98% of our citizens in Massachusetts that are insured, so that's working. Another similarity is you can't be denied insurance coverage because you have a preexisting condition, or if you change jobs you don't need to worry about losing your insurance, so our insurance is entirely portable. Those are perhaps the most important or well known similarities.
We also have in place an exchange which allows individuals to purchase insurance at very low rates because you have the entire state as a pool of citizens. Everybody's in the insurance pool, as a result the rates are much lower than they otherwise would be."
What's Romneycare's incentive to become insured? The individual mandate, that's what. Logic would dictate that a larger pool of arguably healthier people, whether it be across a state or across the country, would also result in lower rates across the board.
As far as the exchanges that are similar in the plan, it would be nice if Republican governors across the country would actually put them in place as is the law, and not ignore it, thereby ignoring their respective constituents' health care needs. Now, as for the differences...
ROMNEY: "The differences: One is, our plan was a state plan. I believe in Federalism. I believe the 10th Amendment gives to the states the right to create their own health insurance programs rather than have the federal government intrude on the rights of states. That's number one.Number Two - Ours didn't raise taxes. The President's raises taxes by about a half a trillion dollars.
Number Three - We didn't cut Medicare. His cuts Medicare by about a half a trillion dollars.
And one more difference that is a problem from my standpoint is the price controls he puts in place. The government pricing insurance is, in my view, a recipe for difficulty and will end up encouraging the government to get in the insurance business. I think that's a mistake."
One: Yes, one the differences is that Mitt's is a state plan. That's the difference between state and federal. As far as the 10th Amendment? "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people," though I'm not a Constitutional scholar or a lawyer, it seems to me that Article I, Section 8 supersedes the 10th Amendment: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and GENERAL WELFARE of the United States..."
Two: Mitt claims his plan didn't raise taxes only because he didn't call his mandate a tax. They called it a penalty. And a quick look at verified Wikipedia information actually calls it a "tax penalty."
"[Romneycare] included tax penalties on residents for failing to obtain an insurance plan and tax penalties on employers for failing to offer an insurance plan to employees. In 2007 Massachusetts tax filers who failed to enroll in a health insurance plan which was deemed affordable for them lost the $219 personal exemption on their income tax. Beginning in 2008, the penalty became pegged to 50% of the lowest monthly premium for insurance available from [the state's insurance exchange clearinghouse.]"Three: Medicare was not cut by half a trillion dollars. The savings to Medicare comes from the Medicare Advantage or Part C overpayments due to their being tied to private insurance carriers.
There is considerable confusion about what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA) of 2010 did with respect to Medicare Advantage. As part of a broad set of reforms aimed to control the cost of Medicare, the ACA eliminated subsidies which the federal government first used to establish the Medicare Advantage program... As of 2008, the federal government spent 12 percent more on Medicare Advantage than it did for comparable care under traditional Medicare. These subsidies (which added an additional $14 billion to the Medicare program last year alone) will gradually be reduced until payments to Medicare Advantage are in line with the cost of traditional Medicare.Traditional Medicare will now cover what Part C did, something that should have happened when it was first implemented.
In any event, Obamacare does not cut Medicare benefits, but you won't hear that from the opposition. They'll just tell you that ACA cuts Medicare by $500 billion as a scare tactic, and not that it saves the government $500 billion in Medicare costs. And these finger pointers are the same people who want Medicare dead in the first place - or have seniors left to their own devices by putting a voucher program in place that wouldn't cover their insurance costs.
Also, Mitt, you didn't cut Medicare because you CAN'T cut Medicare. It's one of those "intrusive federal government programs" you were yapping about when you were going on with the 10th Amendment drivel. But go ahead and ask your state's and the country's seniors how they like that intrusion of their lives.
And finally there's this price control nonsense. I don't understand exactly what he was talking about because it was probably some talking point he spouted out, but my only guess it the ACA's provision that health insurance companies use at least 80% of your premiums on health care costs instead of overhead, advertising and profits. $1.1 billion in insurance rebates are headed our way because of Obamacare. I'll take it.