Romney will have several powerful advantages: name recognition, plenty of money, a strong organization left over from 2008, and a reputation for business competence during an election in which economic issues and job creation are likely to dominate. But he will also have one enormous albatross hanging around his neck: the Massachusetts health-care program.
One of the clearest lessons of the 2010 elections was that voters remain strongly opposed to President Obama’s health-care reform. And if voters in general dislike Obamacare, Republican voters positively loathe it. According to the most recent Rasmussen survey, voters overall support repealing Obamacare by a margin of 58–37. Among Republicans, 84 percent favor repeal.
Romney’s problem is that, despite his demurrals, the parallels between Obamacare and his 2006 Massachusetts reform plan are striking. Both plans are built around an individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase a government-designed insurance plan. Both plans dramatically increase government subsidies and Medicaid eligibility. Both plans use an exchange to redesign the individual and small-group insurance markets, creating a “managed competition” model for insurance. And both Massachusetts and Obamacare prohibit insurers from managing risk, shifting costs from older and sicker individuals to the young and healthy. Neither Obamacare nor Romneycare includes any substantial cost-containment mechanism.Romneycare has proven to be a disaster in Massachusetts, providing a clear vision of the future under Obamacare. The number of uninsured has been reduced — at great cost — but the program has failed to achieve the promise of universal coverage. The subsidies and other costs have proven an enormous burden for the state budget. Insurance premiums have continued to rise, leading Massachusetts to attempt to impose premium caps and even a global budget. Insurers are losing money and threatening to pull out of the state.
Mitt showed us the future with Romneycare. However, it is a future we don't want, and electing him would be a disaster. I don't know who I would support yet, but I know I won't be supporting any bid by Mitt Romney.