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Healthline Analysis: Election 2008 - The Romney Plan


Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney (R) released his health care plan in August 2007. An undergrad of BYU, he went on to pursue advanced degrees from Harvard's Law School and MBA program and was a founder of a successful venture capital company. Here are the salient features of The Romney Plan. The wording is often verbatim from Romney's Power Point Presentation to the Florida Medical Association:

  • Use a free market, federalist approach to make quality affordable health insurance available to everyone
    • Increase portability (i.e. no loss of insurance with change of job)
      • "No more free-riders"
        • Emphasis is at the state level and "personal responsibility"
          • enable market-driven, high value products
            • then require middle income earners to either purchase health insurance or pay for their own health care
        • a national system is "bound to fail", ignoring the differences between states and smothering innovations
        • offer federal incentives to states to deregulate insurance industry
        • End Medicaid: Help low income people purchase private insurance vs. receiving government care
          • bring everyone into the health care system
          • provide sliding scale premiums for low-income persons as a step up to self sufficiency
          • redirect state and federal spending from payouts to providers to premium assistance for individuals
            • a single person making $19,400 per year would pay a monthly premium of $40 for health insurance
    • Create a mechanism to control costs and provide sustainability
      • First do no harm
      • No European-type rationing
      • Preserve individual choice
      • Implement medical liability reforms
      • Implement HIT
    • Adopt tax reforms
      • Change the tax laws offer disincentives for overinsurance and overuse of health care
Interesting statistics Romney provided. Of the 45 million uninsured:
  • 17 million are middle income individuals
  • 12 million are low income individuals
  • 14.7 million people who are uninsured are currently eligible for public coverage
That is Romney's rationale for no new taxes or spending - middle income people need to get coverage and those 12 -19 million who need the most help should get it. And while he mandated coverage in his state in Massachusetts, he does not advocate a national mandate for health care coverage. So strongly does he believe in his health care plan, that in December 2007 he told an NPR reporter that "...I am running on my health care plan..." It has been difficult to pin down his views on abortion, but he does admit that his views have evolved over time and he refers to himself as being " a click from center" on a number of issues. Mitt Romney has published his own views on stem cell research in National Review Online. He supports ethical biomedical research and consensus building to promote, protect and save lives. He apparently favors the Iraq war yet has been reticent about veterans and their health care needs.

Thank you daniela Zalcman for use of photo Anderson Cooper interview.
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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