It is now of critical importance that Obama’s opponent in 2012 be able to make the case against the health-care law and for a sensible replacement. It is because of those raised stakes that Romney felt compelled to deliver a speech yesterday making the argument against Obamacare and for his own approach. The two halves of the speech, unfortunately for him, canceled each other out.
Obamacare has three main components. It bans insurers from taking account of customers’ health status in setting premiums, requires everyone to purchase health insurance, and subsidizes those who cannot afford to meet the requirement. Thanks to the legislation Romney signed, Massachusetts law has all three features. Obama justifies the individual mandate — in political debate and in court — as necessary to keep the uninsured from raising everyone else’s premiums with their emergency-room visits. Romney advances the same justification. Much of Obamacare’s expansion of coverage is achieved through putting more people on the Medicaid rolls. That’s what Romney’s Massachusetts plan did, too.
Costs are rising in Massachusetts, price controls are in the offing, and the plan is losing popularity. We understand that Romney does not feel that he can flip-flop on what he had touted as his signature accomplishment in office. But if there is one thing we would expect a successful businessman to know, it is when to walk away from a failed investment.