Monday, September 10, 2012

Jonathan Chait Rips Mitt Romney to Shreads on His Health-Care Plan

Oh boy. Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed. In that case, Mitt Romney should be hiding under the covers. At the very least, he should avoid Jonathan Chait's article about him in New York Magazine. It's entitled, "Mitt Temporarily Forgets Plan to Screw the Sick." Ouch.

Chait quotes Mittens on Meet the Press:
I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.
Then Chait points out the obvious:
This would be big news, if true. Finding a way for people with preexisting conditions to get coverage requires some pretty major reforms. Obama’s approach (which was also, of course, Mitt Romney’s approach in Massachusetts) was to ban insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, which in turn required an individual mandate to make sure people didn’t only start buying insurance when they were sick, which in turn required subsidies to people who couldn’t afford insurance. You could find another way to do it, like create special insurance pools for sick people, but that would require spending a lot of money (because sick people are expensive to insure), and Romney and Ryan’s budgets are premised on massive cuts to domestic spending.
In other words, it’s not true. Romney doesn’t have a plan, or even a vague outline of a plan, to cover people with preexisting conditions. To preempt a conservative freak-out, Romney’s campaign clarified to National Review that its actual position remains, “Governor Romney will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited.”
 Chait further points out that the key phrase is "continuous coverage." All Romney had to do is include that clarifier when he spoke to David Gregory. Romney did not, probably because he wanted to look compassionate, at least until the press caught on, which was death-defyingly quick.

At the bottom of the article you'll find links to two related articles that point out other blatant deceptions Mitt Romney has offered on Obama's health-care law and Romney's own in Massachusetts.

Here's one -- How Romney Advocated Obamacare and Lied About It
 Here's an excerpt:
His [Romney's] solution was simple. He seized upon the one major difference between his plan and Obama’s, which was that Obama favored a public health insurance option. The public plan had commanded enormous public attention, and Romney used to it frame Masscare as a conservative reform relying on private health insurance, and against Obama’s proposal to create a government plan that, Romney claimed, would balloon into a massive entitlement. Andrew Kaczynski collects several televised appearances and one op-ed in which Romney holds up Masscare as a national model.
This tactic backfired when Obama had to jettison the public plan, and Republicans came to focus on the individual mandate as the locus of evil in Obamacare. What was once a Republican idea in good standing was now, suddenly, unconstitutional and the greatest threat to freedom in American history.
This left Romney in an awkward spot.
 I'd say it did. Here's Romney on CBS in 2009:

And on ABC the same year:

And on NBC also the same year:

Mitt is in a world of hurt now because he can't explain this stuff away, and it appears that journalists are finally growing a spine when it comes to challenging these evasions.

It didn't help that Romney penned an op-ed (also linked in the Chait piece) advising Obama to use Massachusetts as a template for his health-care reform. Here's an excerpt:
Republicans are not the party of "no" when it comes to health care reform. This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state's citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.
Really. The president did abandon his government insurance plan (the public option), and, oh boy, did those Republicans jump on board! Not.

Here's the other Chait article on Mitt's evasions -- Romney's Health Care Evasions: A History

Here's an excerpt:
Romney’s current description of his 2008 health care position is simple and concise: “I said, not national program, state by state program.” He did say that. But it does not actually mean very much. During the last election cycle, Romney didn’t have a very concrete health care plan. He had a collection of goals and buzzwords, proposing a series of goals, like universal coverage and cost control, without any specific means to achieve them.
In his quest to make himself the conservative’s conservative four years ago, Romney frequently touted the “federalist” and “state-by-state” character of his “plan,” which he used to distinguish it from Democratic schemes. But this is more of a framing device than a fundamental cleavage. After all, the Affordable Care Act can also be described as a “state-by-state” plan – it sets up a series of state-level exchanges where people can shop for private insurance.
 Finally, here's Mittens explaining how he's going to "repeal" Obamacare (and change Medicare):

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Hat tips to Jonathan Chait, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos.

Here's a bonus video of Romney Senior Adviser Tara Wall trying to not talk about tax loopholes on MSNBC today:

Holy smokes, Mitt's in trouble if Tara Wall is on his debate prep team. Oh, wait. She is.

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