Yesterday, Mitt Romney tried, and failed, to tackle the 800-lb. gorilla in the room: The 2006 Massachusetts healthcare plan that he signed while governor, and why it looks awfully similar to President Obama's signature legislation of 2010.
To review, the two plans have the following provisions in common:
1. An individual mandate to purchase insurance, assessing tax penalties for failure to comply
2. An employer mandate
3. Subsidies for low-income individuals to purchase insurance
4. The expansion of Medicaid
5. The creation of a government-run bureaucracy called an exchange that regulates premiums
6. Prohibition of denials based on pre-existing conditions
Hat tip: The Wonk Room, via Andrew Sullivan
/bangs head on desk.
Yesterday, Romney began a full-on propaganda blitz to convince his audience, and the electorate at large, that his plan was markedly different from Obamacare. This is patently false, as has been pointed out by not only the liberals at Think Progress, but the libertarians at the Cato Institute. To argue that Romneycare is any different in any respect from Obamacare is exceptionally dishonest. They are the same bill.
Romney's most demagogic argument has been that while Romneycare was an attempt to help people get and keep insurance, Obamacare was a "government takeover of healthcare." This is absurd. Romney may as well have called Obamacare "green cheese" and it wouldn't make any difference to the substance of his argument or the arguments of his critics. What Romney calls, or how he describes, the two plans is irrelevant. The proof is in the actual policies advanced in the respective bills, and in every important respect, Obamacare and Romneycare are identical.
Romney is the most dishonest politician I have seen in my lifetime. His lack of principle is beyond offensive. Putting aside whether he may be objectively competent to handle the office of the presidency, his misstatements (yesterday's speech being only the latest of which) and myriad brazen position changes should disqualify him before the race even begins.