Re: RomneyCare in Massachusetts

by Jonathan H. Adler

In response to my post below, a Massachusetts reader sends the following e-mail:

I live in Mass and I was a Romney supporter until he decided to give a universal healthcare mandate to a liberal legislature and very liberal governor-to-be.  He made a major concession in the national healthcare debate by mandating coverage, and now no conservative elements of his bill remain. Healthcare in Mass is by no means as bad as auto insurance, but there have been some horror stories already of people trying to sign up using the government helpline. I’m employed and have health insurance, so the worst part of the bill for me has been the 47 creepy Covidien Insurance ads each Red Sox game reminding us that health insurance is mandatory.

The most frustrating aspect of Romney’s bill is that he signed it on his way out the door. Once it passed, he was off to run for president, and because he did no campaigning for Kerry Healey (his lt. governor) there was no chance to stop Deval Patrick.

Me: I suspect Romney proponents would reply that he pushed through the best possible plan given the leftward tilt of the Massachusetts state legislature.  The question, then, is whether one would expect a President Romney to be more successful in holding the line against a Democratic Congress on a national plan.  While I have not mastered the details of Romney’s campaign proposal, as I understand it he would not push for legislation to impose the Massachusetts approach nationwide.

For those looking for a more “academic” critique of the Massachusetts health care reforms, I highly recommend this paper by David Hyman, a law professor at the University of Illinois.

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