Tim Murphy

Governor Romney's plan in Massachusetts also focuses heavily on empowering lower-income citizens to enter the private market and obtain health insurance through subsidies. In a big government-run plan, those with lower-incomes would be forced to enroll in a government-designed "one-size fits all" insurance program. Not taking this approach, Governor Romney redirected nearly $1.3 billion already spent reimbursing hospitals for providing free care to instead help individuals purchase health insurance that meets their needs. This is a revolutionary concept. As the Club for Growth stated, these subsidies "encourage individual ownership of private health insurance" that "may lower overall costs." The key is individual ownership of private health insurance. Requiring no new taxes, the subsidies empower individuals to obtain their own private, affordable health care plan.

Beyond this, Governor Romney took additional steps to limit government's role in health care. He vetoed a Democrat proposed $295 per employee fee for businesses that fail to offer insurance. While the State Legislature did not adopt all of Governor Romney's free-market proposals, he did make progress in helping insurers create lower-cost plans by modernizing our insurance markets. Insurance companies can now offer high-deductible plans with health savings accounts; there is a moratorium on new health benefit mandates; the heavily regulated non-group insurance market was eliminated providing thousands of individuals with more product choice and lower costs; and younger individuals can enroll in lower-cost plans tailored to their lifestyle. Throughout our debate on health care, Governor Romney stood alongside free-market principles.

At the heart of Governor Romney's plan in Massachusetts is a core belief that the solution to the challenge of reforming the health care system lies in private market solutions. What we have done in Massachusetts is unleash the power of competition. For the first time, many Massachusetts citizens are buying their own health care plans. This was achieved not by putting the government in the health care business but instead by empowering individuals.

Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy is the former Massachusetts Health And Human Services Secretary.

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