Almost a full year into the presidential campaign, Romney finally received a full-fledged beatdown for his mendacity over healthcare. He has the nerve to feign outrage over Obamacare, even while he touts Romneycare – a carbon copy of Obamacare – as a virtuous success, supported by 90% of Massachusetts residents. Santorum did his homework, and called him out on the hypocrisy. Romney was never able to answer why the same market intervention and distortions – mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid – which form the bedrock of Obamacare , supposedly worked so well in Massachusetts. The reason he couldn't answer the question is because Romneycare was a complete failure. It is the canary in the coal mine for Obamacare.
The reality is that Romneycare did not merely affect the 8% that were uninsured, as Romney has suggested; it punished everyone with record high premiums. It is incontrovertibly clear that MassCare has engendered the highest premiums in the nation,while dumping thousands of people onto federally funded Medicaid and disincentivizing people not to earn more money.
In other words, Romneycare, at its core, is exactly like Obamacare. When Romney could not articulate any fundamental difference between the two pernicious government takeovers, he wandered off into ancillary differences. He pointed out that Obamacare contains 2600 pages, raises taxes, and cuts Medicare. However, those are all nebulous differences related to the packaging or funding of the proposal. At the core, they are the same; mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid. That core is what Romney recently dubbed as fundamentally a conservative principle.
Last year, Romney let the cat out of the bag when he said “I hope we’re ultimately able to eliminate some of the differences, and repeal the bad and keep the good.” After all, why would you want to completely repeal a fundamentally conservative idea? He would replace the tax increases in Obamacare, replacing them with more borrowing to service the mandates, subsidies, and expansion of Medicaid. Maybe he'd reduce the number of pages in the bill by 50% or so.
Santorum was right to suggest that Romney would be caught flat footed in a debate with Obama over healthcare. It's better we realize that now – before we are stripped of our most effective weapon in the general election.