The running theme is that Mitt Romney's health care law he crafted as governor in Massachusetts is an enduring heavy burden of political folly swinging wildly around his neck. If you listen to the likes of Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and other prominent voices within the conservative media he must avoid at all costs talking about his most signature achievement and most recognizable piece of legislation as governor: Romneycare, aka the blue print for President Obama's now equally infamous and equally toxic health care plan. But as the polls show us that Obamacare remains a deeply unpopular law among a large majority of Americans, the same can't be said of Romneycare. In fact Mitt Romney's health care plan is popular still, in Massachusetts.
The argument can be made successfully on the basis of state's rights and state government implementation of prototype measures be it health care or whatever, versus the broad general brush stroke of federal experimentation, of which we've seen to our detriment from this administration. If the matter comes up in their first debate which I have no doubt that it will, Romney can respond with the following:
"Mr. President you said the model and influence for your Affordable Care Act came from the health care plan I implemented as governor of Massachusetts. I appreciate the shout out but while there are similar measures within both our plans it's important also to point out the differences; and the difference are what makes your health care law a bad idea. First and foremost you must keep in mind that every state has as it's own unique opportunity the right to do what they feel is best for that particular state. What I did in Massachusetts I believe was right for the state of Massachusetts. I don't however believe what's good for Massachusetts might necessarily be good for New Hampshire, or Delaware, or New York state. You see Mr. President I believe in state's right, and I also believe that sometimes we don't get thinks right the first time around, because we aren't perfect. I never sold my health care plan as the perfect remedy for the people of Massachusetts, you sold your health care plan as the perfect remedy for America, you were wrong. Looking back I would not have implemented a mandate because that was the wrong approach. But again, sometimes we make mistakes and it takes real leadership to admit when you're wrong. The ball is now in your court Mr. President to admit that you were wrong in how you not only crafted your health care plan but how you went about passing your plan. If I'm not mistaken then speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in order to find out what's exactly in your health care plan we have to pass it first? Is that right? There in lies another difference Mr. President, you sought to purposely confused and hide facts from the American people because you knew the plan would be unpopular if they knew what was in it before it was passed.
There are two issues we're dealing with when we talk about my plan versus his plan: Arrogance and lack of transparency. Mr. President you and the Democrat controlled congress at the time were too arrogant to weigh the costs of passing a large scale bill that would have profound consequence whether good or bad on the American people without actually taking the time to explain in detail what is actually in the bill you sought to pass. I think this is the exact reason why so many Americans have lost faith in government, the very notion that somehow you're above the oath of office is further proof that your presidency should come to an end. From the moment the ACA was crafted to the moment it was rushed through passage you didn't care what the people wanted, it was about winning. Your problem is that you care more about padding your win/loss record and building your legacy than making sure the American people know the truth. And what is the truth about the effects of the Affordable Care Act?
For starters under your plan 30 million people will lose their private insurance, you said time and time again in 2008 if the American people like their plan they can and will keep it; that wasn't true. Under the Affordable Care Act you said the costs of health care will decline, instead they've gone up and will continue to increase. Under your health care plan businesses, particularly those small businesses you claim to stand for will have to make the hard choices between sustainability and providing their employees with quality care. And most troubling is the fact that your health care plan makes the IRS the boss, and erodes the private and personal relationship between a patient and their doctor. I could go on but I think the American people understand the further into this I go the worse things look for them under the ACA.
So yes, if admitting my mistakes in regards to health care as governor puts me at risk of losing votes or losing this election then so be it. I'm willing to learn from my mistakes and try and fix what is broken instead of transforming the entire health care system in America. I believe that's a bridge too far Mr. President, and if I'm elected I will repeal the Affordable Care Act and start fresh, because in more ways than one that's what's needed in America today."
If Mitt Romney says something similar to what I just wrote then this issue will be put to bed at least as a drag on his campaign because now the President will have to admit that he was wrong in regards to the ACA and that's not something he's been willing to do since it's passage. Romney has to flip the issue and make it about lack of transparency, government overreach and arrogant legislating on the part of the Democrats and President Obama. I don't believe he can't talk about this issue because it's so toxic he has to run screaming. And I know people will say "It's the same plan" but Romney has to highlight the differences in motive and also the differences between state government rights and federal government power, which in most cases tends to overstep and construct a broad unnecessary expansion into individuals' lives. He has to thrash the mandate. Divorce himself from the mandate and put Mr. Obama in a corner because the Democrats and the president refuse to throw the individual mandate under the bus, which is the only thing they aren't willing to chuck under there these days.
The ACA mandate is set in stone, it's a tax. The Supreme Court, led by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts said the mandate was a tax therefore it's constitutional. Romney can force President Obama to defend, explain, and divorce the individual mandate all at the same time which is something the President has struggled with for the past three years since the ACA passed in 2009.
Romney should say the following:
"Mr. President I would get rid of the individual mandate because I don't want to burden the middle class with a tax increase when they're already facing a tax increase on January 1st of next year."
This will force the president to say whether or not it's a tax. If he says it's not a tax then it's a government mandate which is the feds forcing you to buy something against your will, that's unconstitutional. If he says it's a tax, which he won't, then he'll have to explain to the American people why they should accept a large scale tax increase during a down economy; something he said himself was a bad idea. Romney has to focus on that mandate like a laser beam and he has to make President Obama uncomfortable with that issue.
Again it's not a matter of whether he should approach the issue at all but how he approaches the issue. He can easily flip this situation by focusing on his experience in Massachusetts and focusing like a freakin hawk on the mandate. Shove the mandate down the president's throat. Run ads focusing on how it's the one of the largest tax increases on the middle class in American history. He needs to do whatever he has to do to put President Obama in a tiny box and force him to put his guard up for once.