Can Mittt Romney use O-Care this fall?.....
How should Team Romney frame health care this fall?
Second, choose Bobby Jindal as VP, and make clear that in a Romney administration Jindal will be point man on replacing O-Care. Jindal does not carry Mitt's RomneyCare albatross. As NRO noted last year, RomneyCare is very close to O-Care, sharing the three major features of mandate to purchase, guaranteed issue to those with pre-existing conditions and community rating--barring pricing insurance based upon individual consumer health data.
Jim Geraghty's NRO piece on Jindal last October makes one thing clear: Bobby Jindal is the best governor in America. Yes, Chris Christie in New Jersey, Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Bob McDonnell in Virginia are other GOP superstars lighting up the firmament, balancing budgets and curbing spending, taming unions, etc. But Jindal is in a class by himself, having inherited a state that was a basket case, its largest city devastated by Hurricane Katrina and languishing despite huge federal financial largesse and refugee shelter help from neighboring states.
Geraghty sums up Jindal's first-term record:
Jindal’s record has been exemplary: transforming the state’s reputation on ethics and corruption, enacting dramatic cuts in spending without provoking much public outcry, implementing careful reforms to Louisiana’s unique traditional methods of providing health care, creating jobs, overhauling the state’s schools, and, finally, knowing how to deal with crises.
Not bad. Now, try this: (a) going from 44th to 1st place in rankings on state ethics; (b) hiring private sector managers rather than public sector careerists to run state agencies; (c) cutting spending 26 percent; (d) credit rating up from AA- to AA; (e) job-creation incentives; (f) charter schools & taking education away from school-board educrats; (g) health care reform. This last item is especially impressive:
Jindal’s careful budget management is reflected in his handling of health care, a complicated topic that vexes many Republican governors. Louisiana’s health-care system dates back to the 18th century, when Catholic religious orders established a tradition of free hospital-based care. Huey Long expanded that through the state-operated charity hospitals; today there are ten. The system predates Medicaid and Medicare, and any Louisianan can walk in and get free health care — if he or she is willing to endure the long wait times.
This model is well represented by Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge, a run-down monstrosity of a facility that evokes the worst aspects of Soviet architecture. Built in the 1960s, it barely meets reaccreditation standards and was given several extensions and exemptions after Katrina. “Even apart from a dollar perspective, it wasn’t really good for the patients,” Jindal says. “For folks with chronic conditions — diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure — going to an emergency room wasn’t the best way to get your health care. At Earl K. Long, 63 percent of the emergency-room visits are for non-emergency care.”
Replacing Long would have cost the state $400 million; instead the state expanded a nearby urgent-care clinic, and is building on a model used in New Orleans after Katrina, opening and sustaining outpatient clinics that charge patients on an income-based sliding scale, aiming to provide affordable care. (Jindal cites studies that indicate patients are more likely to follow a doctor’s instructions and keep appointments when they pay any portion of the fee, even as little as $1.) Just down the road, the state’s second-largest hospital, the private Our Lady of the Lake, is completing a partnership with Louisiana State University that Jindal’s administration helped shepherd, creating a Level 1 trauma center with a new emergency room the size of two football fields and a nine-story building dedicated to heart and vascular treatment. LSU residents will train at Our Lady of the Lake instead of Earl K. Long. Instead of the $400 million that would have been needed to replace Long, the state is spending $14 million.
Bottom Line. Mitch for repeal, Bobby for replace, applying some version of Ferrara's prescription + Jindal's own ideas.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Economy, Conservative Politics