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Romney’s Third Rail


Peter Brown argues health care will be the deadly third rail in the 2008 election. What he doesn’t mention, though, is that the issue may prove to be especially difficult for the one Republican candidate who has said the most about it: Mitt Romney. Romney has been touting the plan he championed in Massachusetts to, among other things, improve health insurance portability and turn some state Medicaid dollars into individual vouchers for the poor. The plan has much to recommend it, though it is overregulated and is already looking much more expensive than promised. But even if it was the best possible reform, its first full year of operation will be 2008, and such a radical change in the way health insurance works is bound to encounter serious kinks and troubles at the outset. In this case, confusion and early bugs in the system will be felt especially by the poor and employees of small businesses—not the ideal home-state populations to have mad at you when you’re trying to run for president. And you can bet the Boston Globe will be on the street looking for the most egregious examples of individuals falling through the early cracks. Whatever the merits and long term success of the plan, its timing is not well suited to help Romney’s election year image.   


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