GOP health care reform needs explanationRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now says he won’t eliminate all the provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.
By: By Matt Pommer, Superior Telegram
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney now says he won’t eliminate all the provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.
In an appearance on “Meet the Press,” he pointed to the provision covering those with pre-existing health conditions as one example of those he would retain if elected president to succeed Obama.
Currently, millions of people with health problems have a difficult time getting health insurance, including cost and coverage provisions. Providing care is more expensive for sick people than the healthy. Obamacare would prevent insurance carriers from denying coverage.
Earlier, Romney had vowed to repeal all of the Affordable Health Care Act, sometimes pejoratively called “Obamacare,” the day he is sworn-in as president. But many of the provisions are popular.
Tommy Thompson, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, seemed to sense that even before the August primary.
“I’m proposing a new voluntary state-federal initiative to enable coverage for pre-existing conditions,” Thompson said, adding that risk-sharing must be solved. “But we can do it without excessive new regulations or mandates,” Thompson said.
“Risk-sharing” can be translated into the question of who is going to pay for the costs of caring for those with existing health problems. Thompson suggests this could be done on a voluntary basis. Voters deserve a more detailed explanation of how Thompson’s voluntary system would work.
In the week after the “Meet the Press” program Romney said those with pre-existing conditions should be covered if they have “continuous” coverage of their health care needs. Romney probably will be asked in the upcoming debates what his ideas mean to those with pre-existing conditions and no current health insurance.
Romney and Thompson are knowledgeable about health-care services. Thompson served four years as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As governor of Massachusetts Romney signed into law a bill mandating health insurance coverage, in ways similar to Obamacare.
Other benefits in Obamacare also are popular, including allowing young people to age 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance, reducing the “donut” hole on senior citizen drug plan and covering several types of cancer screening.
Paying for reform looms a much larger issue. The wealthy face higher federal taxes to pay for it under Obamacare. About 2.5 million households ($250,000 for a couple and $200,000 for an individual) will pay a 3.8 percent surcharge on their investment income. Remember that’s investment income, not on salaries. It would raise more than $300 billion in the 10 years.
It seems a sure bet the vast majority of those 2.5 million households have health insurance coverage, regardless of their health needs.
Romney and Thompson talk of reform. Each man proposes to help the federal budget by sending each of the 50 states a block grant that allows them to create their own answers to Medicaid. That is the state-federal program that provides care to the poor and disabled.
Both Romney and Thompson praise the ideas of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Janesville. Thompson said Ryan’s ideas and “entitlement reform” will help pay for health care changes.
Would changing the age for Medicare eligibility be more attractive to voters than raising taxes?