With all the difficulties that have faced President Obama in the introduction of the so-called Affordable Care Act (or Unaffordable Care Act, as it is turning out for some folks), it is tempting to wonder how the implementation of the act would have proceeded had Mitt Romney won the presidency.
Romney, as you may remember, had led the implementation of similar, near-universal-care legislation in Massachusetts when he was governor of that state.
The Republicans who ran against Romney in the presidential primaries beat up on him pretty badly over what they called RomneyCare, but the fact is, RomneyCare is better legislation than ObamaCare. It is largely successful, affordable and most important, popular, according to journalists who cover it.
Like ObamaCare, RomneyCare requires a person to have health insurance, either through their employers or by purchasing it themselves. Both impose penalties for not buying insurance.
Like ObamaCare, RomneyCare tries to find a balance between the liberal notion of having a single-payer plan and the conservative notion that the government should stay out of the health-insurance business.
The principal difference between the two programs seems to be that Romney and his administration seemed to know how to make the legislation work. The rollout wasn’t perfect, but there weren’t any big stumbles such as the Obama people have made.
RomneyCare has been operating since 2006; ObamaCare may find itself not operating for quite a while yet because its enrollment goals so far haven’t been met, and no one living person admits to understanding its hundreds of pages of regulations. The people who are charged with making it work don’t know how to do it, and the people who passed the legislation hate it more every day.
What would Romney have done? Well, we do know he made one very similar plan work quite well.