Governor Romney on the new health care bill

Governor Romney on the new health care bill

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a piece in today’s OpinionJournal on the new health care bill:

The solution we came up with was to make private health insurance much more affordable. Insurance reforms now permit policies with higher deductibles, higher copayments, coinsurance, provider networks and fewer mandated benefits like in vitro fertilization–and our insurers have committed to offer products nearly 50% less expensive. With private insurance finally affordable, I proposed that everyone must either purchase a product of their choice or demonstrate that they can pay for their own health care. It’s a personal responsibility principle.

Some of my libertarian friends [like Arnold Kling?] balk at what looks like an individual mandate. But remember, someone has to pay for the health care that must, by law, be provided: Either the individual pays or the taxpayers pay. A free ride on government is not libertarian.

After praising the bi-partisan effort, Romney can’t resist burnishing his conservative credentials by taking a little shot at the Democrats (beyond the subtle anti-abortion connotations of the in-vitro fertilization comment).

My Democratic counterparts have added an annual $295 per-person fee charged to employers that do not contribute toward insurance premiums for any of their employees. The fee is unnecessary and probably counterproductive, and so I will take corrective action.

I guess that means he’s going to use his line item veto to cancel it. Actually Romney should be happy about the $295 assessment because it makes the plan more likely to succeed by providing adequate funding. He should just leave it intact as his own “insurance policy” to help avoid the Massachusetts Miracle (II) while he’s running for president.

April 11, 2006

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