One of the groundbreaking ideas in the Massachusetts plan is something called the "Connector." While some have tried to mischaracterize its purpose, what the Connector really accomplishes is that it provides a mechanism for people to purchase their health care plan with pre-tax dollars. Why is this important? When purchased through the Connector, that same $175 health care plan mentioned above now costs about $110 per month. While $65 may not mean a lot to people in Washington or New York, for a family working to make ends meet, $65 can help pay for groceries or gas for their car. As the Club for Growth stated, the Connector "does dramatically facilitate individually-owned health insurance plans by enabling individuals to purchase health insurance with pre-tax dollars and choose from a number of competing private plans."
Sally Pipes also questions the spending requirements of the Massachusetts plan. The response is simple – there are no new taxes required. As part of the Massachusetts plan, Governor Romney redirected nearly $1 billion that was already being spent to reimburse hospitals for providing free care to instead help individuals purchase their own insurance. According to the Club for Growth, these subsidies "encourage individual ownership of private health insurance" that "may lower overall costs." By redirecting existing funds, Governor Romney crafted a plan making private health insurance more accessible without more government spending.
For too long, Republicans have shied away from this debate. We've chosen to speak in broad platitudes and theories about how health care should work. We have ceded this issue to the Democrats because if anything, what the Clinton Administration proved was that the topic was too hard to solve, too complex to talk about, and any solution was too expensive.
Governor Romney rejected those tired excuses. Instead of talking, he chose to lead. Of all the presidential candidates, Republican or Democrat, Governor Romney is the only candidate with a record of achievement in this area. He is proud of his record and the work that was done here in Massachusetts.
Health care reform is easy to talk about. It would have been the path of least resistance and one that has been well worn for too long by people in both parties. Governor Romney could have chosen that path. He didn't. He chose to lead. He chose to be a bold reformer. And I can think of over 200,000 reasons – and counting – why that was a good choice.
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