• They should hire him to defend the ACA

    From the debate last night:

    ROMNEY: Rick, I make enough mistakes in what I say, not for you to add more mistakes to what I say. I didn’t say I’m in favor of top- down government-run health care, 92 percent of the people in my state had insurance before our plan went in place. And nothing changes for them. They own the same private insurance they had before.

    And for the 8 percent of people who didn’t have insurance, we said to them, if you can afford insurance, buy it yourself, any one of the plans out there, you can choose any plan. There’s no government plan.

    And if you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility.

    Either get the insurance or help pay for your care. And that was the conclusion that we reached.

    SANTORUM: Does everybody in Massachusetts have a requirement to buy health care?

    ROMNEY: Everyone has a requirement to either buy it or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care. Because the idea of people getting something for free when they could afford to care for themselves is something that we decided in our state was not a good idea.

    SANTORUM: So, in Massachusetts…

    (APPLAUSE)

    That last line there was the audience, made up of Republican primary voters, applauding a full-throated defense of the individual mandate. I’m somewhat amazed at how well Governor Romney can defend the inherent structure of health care reform.

    This should be an interesting election year.

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    • Or rather the audience was applauding the statement as agreement that people need to be more responsible for themselves, and not on handouts.

    • That wasn’t his argument. That wasn’t what people were applauding.

      • I don’t see how you get your point. Romney was defending the Mass. plan. That is a state issue. States have every right how to identify and solve their problems, through their legislative and judicial processes. That includes making people responsible for their health care. That is definitely constitutional and I don’t see the problem.

        I really can’t see how this can be tied to the federal health care plan. People applauded Romney because the point of people being responsible, that the federal government should not give away free care when people can pay towards it, is what caused people to applaud.

        • I’ve always found the view that states should work out a full-coverage regime for themselves completely reasonable. IIRC, by 2017, that’s permitted, with a waiver. Shouldn’t the reform be to advance that to 2014 or delay full ACA implementation to 2017? I’ve never heard Romney or any other repeal advocate put it that way. Why not?

          • Because the federal government really doesn’t have a constitutional right to mandate this. You, or others, may not agree, but that’s the perspective the candidates are approaching this from.

    • There theory Ron is espousing is from the articles of confederation and not the constitution. Only right wing hacks hold that state law is the highest in the land. Common law and the constitution says otherwise.

      • @Eric
        I think it is interesting to revisit the articles of Confederation and then think about the fact that the Constitution was a fairly radical rejection of the articles in favor of much more centralized federal power (via the constitution). Esp the fact that only 9 of 13 colonies had to approve constitution (all 13 eventually did) whereas the articles had a unicameral legislature that required unanimous agreement with each state getting 1 vote to do almost anything. So, Conservatives harkening to the Constitution as the ultimate conservative document seem to forget that history (that we chucked the first one). Also, if you read some of the anti-federalists (who strongly preferred the articles of confederation) I think you can find hints of views that the current left and right might have. Interesting reading if you have a rainy weekend sometime.