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Tommy Christopher (via @rcooley123) at Mediaite has a good catch on Mitt Romney's health care proposals, from an interview Romney gave to Mark Halperin of Time magazine. Asked what would happen to people with pre-existing conditions after he were to repeal Obamacare, Romney said:

If people have been continuously insured, and then they decide to change jobs or change locations, they should not be denied coverage if they go to a new place or have to get a new policy. So people continuously insured should be able to get new insurance.
As Christopher points out, people who have been continuously insured already have this right, and have since 1996, under Title 1 of HIPAA. As he puts it, Romney "is selling you something you already owned." And lest you think maybe Romney just misspoke, you can see the very same words in his platform: "Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage." So, on the critical question of pre-existing conditions, Romney is offering precisely nothing.

That is hardly the end of Romney's useless ideas on health care. His platform says we should return control over health insurance to the states. In principle, this could be workable; after all, in Canada each province has its own health insurance plan. States are big enough entities to do this: if Prince Edward Island can have its own plan, so could Rhode Island. And there is diversity in the provincial plans: Quebec's covers prescription medicine, while Ontario's does not. But this only works because the federal government has strong conditions on what level of coverage the provinces can provide. Romney, on the other hand, says we should "Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage." This is a sure recipe for bad health insurance regulation at the state level.

Another plank in his health care platform is to "Empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools." This will not enable individuals or small businesses to have anywhere near as much bargaining power as the state insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act.

Romney also says we should turn Medicaid into a block grant, giving states more flexibility. As Aaron Carroll points out, states acquired a great deal of flexibility with Medicaid during the GW Bush Administration, but have not introduced any great innovations. Why Romney thinks that would change is anyone's guess.

And of course, what would a Republican health care proposal be without the usual references to tort reform, "innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution" (tort reform again), allowing insurance to be sold against state lines (which would weaken state's ability to regulate; isn't that where Romney said authority should be?) and getting rid of the tax deduction for employer-provided health care?

So, instead of the Affordable Care Act, Romney promises to give us what we already have on pre-existing conditions, plus junk to give insurance companies even more control over the health care market than ever.

Originally posted to Kenneth Thomas on Sat May 26, 2012 at 12:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Just Don't Understand (12+ / 0-)

    I livef for almost 20 years in DC. I didn't work for the Federal government, but most of my friends did. We have already "solved" this program, it is called the The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. It kind of rocks.

    Each year the government takes bids from insurance companies. They require a certain level of service and rights for the employee.

    Then each year as a federal government employee you choose from a list of providers. You are told EXACTLY what it will cost. What the government will pay.

    And then each year there is what is called "open enrollment," so you are a single dude and you get married, well you can upgrade your plan. You just do it. Stupid simple.

    Again we've already solved this problem.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat May 26, 2012 at 01:07:23 AM PDT

    •  But the solution for Romney and the GOP (and (6+ / 0-)

      some dems) is to make sure Insurance Corp. makes astounding profits and maintains the right to do as they please.

      They really couldn't care less about health CARE.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sat May 26, 2012 at 01:27:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Privatize" is never about saving money (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cassandracarolina, Lily O Lady, cany

        Privatizing, as in the Iraq war, is all about corruptly funneling money, many times tax payer money, to your rich crony buddies who bought your allegiance with their vast wealth. It has nothing to do with "efficiency" or "saving money." It is nakedly greedy and hurts the vast majority of people, many grievously, as in a de facto death sentence.

        The goal of Romney type healthcare is to suck everyone dry of all their wealth before they die.

        Everything I write is within a margin of error of precisely 100%.

        by Bailey Savings and Loan on Sat May 26, 2012 at 09:25:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  From the conservative perspective -- (5+ / 0-)

    i.e. maintain the status quo as creatures of habit prefer -- the purpose of public corporations has always been to promote private corporate enterprise, either by doling out natural resources or by providing protection from risk.  Perhaps the biggest scam perpetrated on Americans (native and immigrant) is the notion of individual achievement and success.  The truth is that the political system (allocation of power) has been organized to deliver desserts.  That is, the human condition, by default, is characterized by penury and deprivation and any amelioration has to be deserved by complying with directives. Deprivation of rights is the given and any benefits have to be earned.  Thus is a system designed to maintain the status of what has previously been acquired by theft.

    (If the premise of the Constitution that every person's human rights, including the right to own property, are to be respected were complied with, then everything stolen from the natives would have to be restored)

    Despite the assertion that deprivation of rights is to be reserved as punishment for proven crime, for thieves to hold on to their booty, in practice, the system has to be reversed to one in which benefits/rewards are conditioned on obedience.  That's why medical care is tied to employment, a subservient condition and the medical care of pregnant women is ideally tied to a spousal (subservient) relationship.  It's all part and parcel of the culture of obedience.

    How does one encourage/prompt/coerce a free spirit to do what one wants without having to pay a bribe or offer a reward?  That's the problem faced by people who don't know how to do anything for themselves.  The answer that seems to have worked for them in the past is to restrict access to the resources people need to survive unless and until they comply.  Ironically, it is most people's readiness and willingness to respect the right to own property which makes it possible to perpetrate the scam.  Private property has become the handmaiden of the culture of obedience and the key to the widespread deprivation of human rights.

    I've just read there are no public lands in Texas and the newly appointed deer tsar in Wisconsin is proposing to turn the public lands private so the herds can be managed for private profit. The rationale, of course, is always that private management is better.  What is left out is that "better" for the owner = worse for the managed resource, as well as the public at large.

    Not so long ago, it was quite common for private industrial and commercial corporations to announce they were "going public."  What this meant that they were selling shares to however many people wanted to become owners.  That this "ownership" was designed to be largely illusory and most shares were intended to be voted by proxy was not emphasized.  But, eventually, as the behavior of the private corporations became less and less socially responsive and useful (supporting, for example, repressive political regimes in places like South Africa and Central America) and shareholders took a more personal interest in their operations, ownership by a restive public was perceived as increasingly onerous.  And so "private equity" appeared on the scene.  "Private equity" is a euphemism.  What it really means is individual ownership/private property/keep out.  
    "Private equity" firms are the equivalent of gated communities -- anti-social enclaves whose members' sole interest lies in sequestering themselves and their wealth from everyone else. We can excuse their behavior as being motivated by fear or we can suggest that, like pirates, they rely on privacy to shield their thievery.
    Certainly, "private equity" has nothing to do with respect for privacy and it has nothing to do with fairness or equality. Indeed, "private equity" is an oxymoron in that equity (ownership) cancels out or erases privacy (personal properties).
    But then, the ownership of things (including other people) has long served as a sop to disguise that one's own person is not secure.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sat May 26, 2012 at 03:48:41 AM PDT

  •  or their stupid "voucher" system, (0+ / 0-)

    which shofts the costs to people. Nope, not over my living body will they!!!!

  •  So those with genetic conditions are completely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barbwires, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

    out of luck as far as he is concerned. I suppose we better die and decrease the surface population.

                  Not surprised by Romney's lack of heart,
                                     Heather

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:50:43 AM PDT

  •  What they really want is Ayn Randcare... (4+ / 0-)

    Can't pay? Die.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:55:10 AM PDT

  •  Its really worse (4+ / 0-)

    for people who lose employment and their health coverage and then can't find another job that offers health insurance as a benefit (or another job at all).  Individual policies for people with serious pre-existing conditions are unaffordable, except to people like R-money.

    That's the group who needs the most protection.  And whom R-money would presumably let die in the gutter, as long as the gutter is not in his direct line of vision.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:56:23 AM PDT

  •  Gotta admit I'd be screwed. (0+ / 0-)

    I had insurance for the last 5 months, because I was required to for clinicals.  Couldn't really afford it, but I borrowed enough from relatives to cover the premiums, since I hadn't been insured for the prior 3-4 years.  Wound up spending 2 days in hospital, racked up 26k+ in bills that the insurance co is doing everything it can to avoid paying out on, and now that the spring semester is over, I'm uninsured again, and wondering how I'll be able to get insurance for the fall clinical, now that I've been diagnosed with what will now be multiple pre-existing conditions as a result of that hospital stay.

  •  Maybe we should stop calling it Obamacare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kenneth Thomas

    and start calling it Romneycare.  

    If the Supreme Court really is going to strike down the ACA, why make it an Obama failure?  Why not call it Romneycare and join the winners, everybody sing, "Yay!  The Republican corporatist Romneycare plan goes down in defeat!"  That way we can be the ones gloating when it gets overturned

  •  Romney - minting bad ideas for America ™ (0+ / 0-)

    since NOTHING this guy proposes has ANY possible benefit to "we the people" as opposed to "they the 1%" why is anyone with a shred of braincells giving this idiot the time of day?

    Oh right - RICH people want to control the government... MORE

    For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

    by dagnome on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:02:26 PM PDT

  •  Cross state Insurance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kenneth Thomas

    That worked so well with the Derivatives crowd. The varius states were not allowed to regulate the sale of CDS in their states.

  •  ObamaCare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kenneth Thomas

    It set up a program, administered by the feds, for those with pre-existing conditions who could NOT get insurance.  To join it, you had to have been denied insurance, and been without for at least 6 months.

    Are the people who joined that program - part of ObamaCare - going to be ejected?  If they repeal the whole law, then yeah.  Or, rather, if the Supreme Court kills it all.  Which they might, on the grounds that they don't like part of it, and it's too complicated and a lot of work to analyze the whole thing in detail.  (Don't I recall Scalia complaining about that?)

    Romney perhaps hasn't bothered to find out that the pre-existing condition plan got created under ObamaCare.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon May 28, 2012 at 06:11:02 AM PDT

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