I wrote briefly in April 2006 about a health care proposal put forth by then-Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA). This has always been a challenging issue for me because, contrary to the arguments put forth by many Republicans and Libertarians, I believe that health care is a right. It isn’t a right enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, of course, but it is a moral imperative that society—one way or another—provide a basic level of medical care to all people. Having said that, contrary to the arguments put forth by many Democrats, the U.S. government is incapable of providing health care, or even health insurance, in a cost effective, equitable way. The feds have botched virtually every major initiative they have taken on, and health care will be no different.
But in Massachusetts, Romney—a Republican in liberal Democrat land—put forth a plan that was intended to provide everybody in the state with medical insurance without any kind of government-run system. Many of Massachusetts’s uninsured (about 20 percent) were eligible for the existing Medicare system, but had not enrolled . . . so the state started enrolling them. Another 40 percent of them could afford health insurance, but chose not to . . . so the state started requiring they obtain insurance (although I would leave this part out of my plan, since people have a right to willingly refuse insurance). The rest were in that nether-region where they made too much to qualify for Medicare, but too little to really afford their own insurance . . . they were provided with a state subsidy to allow them to afford health insurance.
And guess what! It worked! Almost everybody in Massachusetts has health insurance now, and about 70 percent of the people of the state are satisfied with the program (now colloquially called ‘RomneyCare’). The government of the state didn’t have to establish a state-run system or spend trillions of dollars to do it either. Some are starting to point to RomneyCare as a possible model for a national health care system that moderate Republicans and Democrats could all agree on. I have some misgivings with RomneyCare, but they are nothing compared to my misgivings about ObamaCare. RomneyCare would be a reasonable point from which to start over on a new national plan.