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Mitt Romney on Obamacare

8:09 AM, Sep 7, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Another Harvard-affiliated doctor, a friend of mine, writes that “Romney's biggest selling point for the Massachusetts mandate was the ‘free rider’ emergency room problem.  Five years later, there is no decrease in ER utilization.”  My friend notes that — as would also be true under ObamaCare — much of the decrease in the number of uninsured has been through Medicaid, which doesn’t pay doctors well at all; thus, “primary care docs…will be supplanted by nurse practitioners and other care extenders who will become the new primary care providers.  Instead of following, say, 2000 patients, a primary care MD will now be responsible for 8000 patients and supervise three to four NPs who will be the first responders available in emergencies.  This process is taking place in academic centers as I write, and community care centers will follow suit.  The vast majority of patients in Massachusetts have no idea that this shift is taking place and may not be amused as it happens to them, courtesy of Mitt and his mandate.”

During the South Carolina forum, Romney also reiterated his oft-repeated pledge that, on day-1 of his administration, he would issue a “waiver from ObamaCare to all 50 states” (a proposal that is also highlighted in his newly released economic plan).  But Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, has already been issuing more than enough ObamaCare waivers — including waivers to two entire states that also happen to be swing-states in the upcoming election:  New Hampshire and Nevada. 

There are at least three serious problems with Romney’s waiver pledge.  One, waivers can’t wipe ObamaCare off the books.  (That’s why the Obama administration has been so willing to issue them.)  Two, while leaving ObamaCare legally intact, issuing waivers somewhat undermines the immediate sense of urgently for repeal (again, hence the Obama administration willingness...).  Three, even if Romney were to issue waivers to all 50 state governments, thereby freeing them from their burdensome obligations under ObamaCare, such waivers wouldn’t provide relief to the 300-or-so million American citizens, each of whom would continue to be bound by ObamaCare’s unconscionably statist decrees.

On day-1 of any new administration (whoever is at the helm), we don’t need more waivers.  We need repeal.

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