Critical Condition

Romney Still Doesn’t Get It

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney recently posted a comment on NRO about how he would undo Obamacare — a comment that shows he is still a very long way away from understanding where he needs to be on what is likely to be the crucial domestic issue of the 2012 elections. His short post misses the mark in two important ways.

First, Romney says he would begin to undo Obamacare with an executive order: “If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states,” he wrote. “The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.”

Governor Romney has to know he can’t use an executive order to wipe out two massive new entitlement programs, $550 billion in new and higher taxes, vast Medicaid expansion, and mandates on individuals, businesses, and the states to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Waivers are not a solution.

Second, he says: “Of course, the ultimate goal is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms that promote competition and lower health-care costs. But since an outright repeal would take time, an executive order is the first step in returning power to the states.”

Take time? The Republican House passed a repeal bill within a few weeks of taking power. If there were a majority in the Senate supporting repeal, then a new president could have a bill to sign on his desk within a month or two of taking office. Why on earth would you want to send states on a wild chase to start implementing Obamacare in a different way?

Governor Romney’s post shows he is still trying to defend his indefensible position that RomneyCare was right for Massachusetts but that he wouldn’t impose it on the rest of the country. RomneyCare gave President Obama the model for the Obamacare monstrosity, a fact which is clear and where the president has shown a rare willingness to share credit.

How is Romney’s new solution on waivers different from President Obama’s position? It isn’t. The president said recently he would be happy to grant waivers to any states that wanted to go about putting health care under government control in a different way. Romney’s plan to issue an executive order to implement Obamacare is derivative of the president’s position.

The voters will see little daylight between Romney’s approach to health reform and the president’s. If Romney were to get the Republican presidential nomination, Obamacare would collapse as an issue. And it would be much, much more difficult to undo this legislation that would turn citizens into subjects and turn states into contractors of a vastly more powerful federal government.

This is a debate we must have, and Governor Romney still seems to have a difficult time grasping its central importance.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How the Nazis Used Gun Control

The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did ... Read More