Obamacare & Romneycare: Seeds from the Same Tree

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Mar 13, 2010 4:12 PM
David Frum, in a series of blog posts regarding Mitt Romney's No Apology, describes and compares Romney's health care reforms in Massachusetts to the Obamacare plan making its way (forcing its way?) through Congress.

The public option has now vanished from the Obama plan. Which means that the federal plan bears a closer family resemblance than ever to Romney’s idea: regulated health insurance exchanges, mandates to buy insurance for those who can afford it, subsidies for those who cannot. Romney’s preference would be to omit the mandate for those who “can demonstrate their ability to pay their own health-care bills.” (176) That would be precious few of us. And he wants to allow states ample leeway to innovate without hindrance by the federal government.

Romney frames the distinction between his preferences and President Obama’s as “free enterprise and consumer-driven markets or government management and regulation.” (193)

It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that these two technocrats have more in common with each other on this issue than either does with his party’s more fervent supporters.

David shares far too much admiration for this so-called "technocrat" approach to health care reform than I, but he's right: Obamacare does bear a striking resemblance to Romneycare.

Admiration for Romneycare is a rare thing, however. While the Massachusetts plan has focused on expanded coverage, both health costs and insurance premiums have risen, outpacing the national average.

Obamacare and Romneycare do share key philosophical similarities. This is something that requires skepticism, not admiration.