Politics & Policy

WSJ Touts Romney for … Obama’s Veep Slot

From an editorial in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

Like Mr. Obama’s reform, RomneyCare was predicated on the illusion that insurance would be less expensive if everyone were covered. Even if this theory were plausible, it is not true in Massachusetts today. So as costs continue to climb, Mr. Romney’s Democratic successor now wants to create a central board of political appointees to decide how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for thousands of services.

The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. But by this cause-and-effect standard, Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him. Once government takes on the direct or implicit liability of paying for health care for everyone, the only way to afford it is through raw political control of all medical decisions.

Mr. Romney’s refusal to appreciate this, then and now, reveals a troubling failure of political understanding and principle. The raucous national debate over health care isn’t about this or that technocratic detail, but about basic differences over the role of government. …

The debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.

Between this and the re-discovery of statements Romney has made in the past suggesting he would have supported a federal health care mandate, it’s clear that there is a lot riding on his speech today. Based on his new op-ed in USA Today and the details his aides told NRO, it doesn’t sound like Romney’s planning on going beyond the state/federal government distinction when explaining the Massachusetts health care program. And increasingly, it seems like that distinction won’t be enough to satisfy primary voters, many of whom disliked Obamacare not just for its government overreach, but also for its lousy economic foundations.

Romney has — and no doubt, will continue to — address the government overreach issue. But he hasn’t talked about the poor understanding of economics that Romneycare is founded on. There’s no indication that will change today.

UPDATE: The Washington Post gets a response from the Romney camp:

Gail Gitcho, communications director for Romney’s presidential exploratory committee, shot back that the paper “has been writing editorials against the Massachusetts health care plan since before the plan was actually put into place”.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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