David Weinberger at The Daily Caller wrote an op/ed about how RomneyCare doesn’t need to hurt Mitt Romney’s presidential hopes. How? An appeal to federalism:
Mr. Romney needs to make clear that, following the tradition of American federalism, RomneyCare was implemented at the state level. The important idea behind federalism is that what works in one state won’t necessarily work in another. Likewise, what doesn’t work in one state certainly won’t work at the national level.
A one-size-fits-all health care mandate at the state level, regardless of what one thinks of its merits, is vastly different than a one-size-fits-all health care mandate at the national level. In the case of the former, if individuals don’t like the mandate and are unsuccessful at opposing it through the ballot box, they have the option of leaving that state for another; in the case of the latter, if individuals don’t like the mandate and are unsuccessful at opposing it at the ballot box, they’re stuck. This is a monumentally crucial difference.
While I agree that states under the federalist model are laboratories for experiments such as this, it doesn’t take Mitt Romney off the hook. Nobody thinks that he would try to pass something of this nature on the federal level, besides it has already been done. President Obama said RomneyCare was a model for him.
We thought that if we shaped a bill that wasn’t that different from bills that had previously been introduced by Republicans — including a Republican governor in Massachusetts who’s now running for President — that, you know, we would be able to find some common ground there.
Oops. Then there are the parallels between the two systems:
Romney’s problem is that, despite his demurrals, the parallels between Obamacare and his 2006 Massachusetts reform plan are striking. Both plans are built around an individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase a government-designed insurance plan. Both plans dramatically increase government subsidies and Medicaid eligibility. Both plans use an exchange to redesign the individual and small-group insurance markets, creating a “managed competition” model for insurance. And both Massachusetts and Obamacare prohibit insurers from managing risk, shifting costs from older and sicker individuals to the young and healthy. Neither Obamacare nor Romneycare includes any substantial cost-containment mechanism.
He can cite federalism all he wants, RomneyCare was a failed experiment. An appeal to federalism doesn’t erase his liberal record as Governor of Massachusetts. Not only does he have a dismal record on health care; he also has a failing record in terms of job creation. Don’t even get me started with his record on abortion. No thanks.
Appealing to federalism doesn’t diminish my concern that he’ll be a milquetoast in the White House.