David Frum

01.29.12

Dispatch from the Romney Presidency

Eli Lehrer powerfully eviscerates Mitt Romney's healthcare reform in the Huffington Post:

(Warning: heavy irony alerts)

While I had some hopes for President Romney's healthcare reform proposals, the plan that eventually emerged in the spring of 2009 failed to satisfy a single progressive goal for health reform. The plan known by the ridiculous title of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" leaves almost all of the private profit-driven healthcare system in place while offering assistance to the poor only in the demeaning form of Medicaid. It contains no entitlement right to healthcare and even leaves out the middle-ground "Public Option" that Senator Hilary Clinton proposed as a compromise. Even worse, from a personal freedom standpoint it offers a plainly unconstitutional mandate that individuals do business with private health insurance corporations owned and controlled by Wall Street interests. All this, of course, is a carbon-copy of the plan Mitt Romney shoved down Massachusetts' throat. And, to pay for some trivial new help for the poor, far too many cuts are made to that pillar of the Great Society, Medicare. So far, almost none of it has worked: a few people in their early 20s have enrolled on their parents' healthcare plans and Medicare cost growth has slowed a tad but, overall, the number of un-inusired Americans has remained near record highs.

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Still, the heavy Democratic turnout in the 2010 elections and the formation of a new "Occupy Wall Street Caucus" in Congress assured a healthy Democratic House majority that passed a two-page bill to repeal President Romney's healthcare law just days after it convened for the first time. The repeal bill, of course, died in the Senate where Republicans still held a very narrow majority. And there was other action too: Many states with Democratic legislatures have refused to implement the "connectors" that are supposed to provide new markets for health insurance and a coalition of progressive Attorneys General has filed a Supreme Court brief to overturn Romneycare.

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Of course, many of the most interesting developments have taken place on the Senate floor where Illinois junior senator-turned-presidential candidate Barack Obama has given some of the best speeches against Romneycare. Come November 2012, Barack Obama is surely the man who can successfully repeal and replace Romneycare.