Are O-Care & MittCare Mandate Clones?....
Romney faces resistance about his preference, conservatives like Bill Kristol argue, for managerial technocratic methods like health insurance mandates. Kristol notes this 2008 debate exchange between Romney & Fred Thompson, with Charlie Gibson moderating:
Charlie Gibson: Governor Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts, although you backed away from mandates on a national basis.
Mitt Romney: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.
Fred Thompson: I beg your pardon? I didn’t know you were going to admit that. You like mandates.
Romney: Let me—let me—oh, absolutely. Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this. If it weren’t . . .
Thompson: The ones you come up with.
Romney: Here’s my view: If somebody—if somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy it, and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way, as opposed to expect the government to pay their way. And that’s an American principle. That’s a principle of personal responsibility.
So, I said this: If you can afford to buy insurance, then buy it. You don’t have to, if you don’t want to buy it, but then you got to put enough money aside that you can pay your own way, because what we’re not going to do is say, as we saw more and more people . . .
Gibson: Governor, you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts.
Romney: Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free riders and pass on the cost to your health care to everybody else, because right now . . .
Thompson: The government is going to make you buy insurance . . .
Romney: No, the government is going to stop . . .
Thompson: and make you pay—I mean, the state—your state plan, which is, of course, different from your national plan, did require people to make that choice, though. The state required them to do that. What was the penalty if they refused? . . .
Romney: If somebody is making, let’s say $100,000 a year, and doesn’t have health insurance, and they show up at the hospital, and they need a $1,000 repair of some kind for something that’s gone wrong. And they say, “Look, I’m not insured, I’m not going to pay.” Do you think they should pay or not?
Thompson: Did your plan cut people off at $100,000? Was that the level?
Romney: No, actually . . .
Thompson: Did it only apply to people with $100,000 income and over?
Romney: It actually applies to people at three-times federal poverty. They pay for their own policy. At less than three-times federal poverty, we help them buy a policy, so everybody is insured, and everybody is able to buy a policy that is affordable for them. The question is this, again, if someone could afford a policy and they choose not to buy it, should they be responsible for paying for their own care? Or should they be able to go to the hospital and say, “You know what? I’m not insured. You ought to pay for it.” What we found was, one-quarter of the uninsured in my state were making $75,000 a year or more. And my view is they should either buy insurance or they should pay their own way with a health savings account or some other savings account.
Gibson: We have an expression in television: We get in the weeds. We’re in the weeds now on this. . . . Yes or no, in your national plan, would you mandate people to get insurance? . . .
Romney: I would not mandate at the federal level that every state do what we do. But what I would say at the federal level is, “We’ll keep giving you these special payments we make if you adopt plans that get everybody insured.” I want to get everybody insured.
A close read of the 2008 exchange reveals Romney's bottom line does differ from ObamaCare. But Romney is not articulate enough to convey in a sound bite an arcane distinction between RomneyCare & ObamaCare: the difference between mandating that everyone purchase insurance coverage & telling people that they need not do so, but that if they do not purchase insurance they will not be allowed to become what economists call "free riders" on the taxpayers.
Unless Mitt can explain this crucial distinction he may not close the sale.
Bottom Line. Mitt faces an uphill battle in drawing fine distinctions in a campaign dominated by sound bites. ObamaCare versus RomneyCare is perhaps the prime example of Mitt's dilemma.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics