The Health & Healthcare Blog  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where Does Romney Really Stand On Affordable Health Care?

In the beginning of the presidential race, it was clear where both President Obama and Mitt Romney stood on the issue of affordable health care for Americans. Both agreed that reform was necessary but each presented their own plan for accomplishing this.

President Obama presented the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, outlining his plan consisting of mandates including requirements that all Americans must purchase health insurance, employers must provide health insurance, government subsidies would be provided to help families afford insurance, and pre-existing conditions would no longer be a reason to deny health insurance. The basics of the plan were pretty clear.

Romney was also clear in the beginning that he would, if elected, get rid of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican health care plan which is based on a voucher system with rebates, versus government subsidies. On August 30 during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Romney stated "We must rein in skyrocketing cost of health care by repealing and replacing Obamacare." Repeal, i.e. revoke, cancel, annul, abort, seems pretty clear.

So, what is Romney saying now? Ten days later, on September 9 on Meet the Press, Romney states "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform." He goes on to explain that there are parts of health care reform he thinks are good and describes how he is going to work those parts into his plan. For example, on September 9, Romney states that he will "assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family." Isn't this the same thing Obamacare is proposing with the required insurance mandate? Not so, says Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute. "It's really a price control," he continues. For most people, the difference between required and assure are unclear.

What many believe is happening is that Romney is pulling back as a result of the response from most Americans regarding Romney's plan to repeal Obamacare. There are a lot of people concerned about the idea of repealing it. To support this, one needs to look at the polling numbers carefully. While fifty-six percent of Americans are against Obama's healthcare plan, and 44 percent favor it, most people like the provisions of the healthcare reform. Their sticking point is the mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that only 18 percent of those polled really want Obamacare repealed. A recent Gallup poll showed that 31 percent support repealing the law, down from an earlier poll that indicated 41 percent wanted it repealed. And, a recent Kaiser poll showed 38 percent wanted the law repealed. The bottom line is that most Americans do not want Obamacare repealed.

Many voters are not impressed with Romney's weakened stand on repealing Obamacare. Their concern is the ambiguity he is creating in the minds of American voters as to just where he does stand on healthcare reform. Is he changing his mind because he recognizes some of the law would truly benefit Americans, or is it because it would be unfavorable to voters to repeal the law? Voters are beginning to wonder.

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