Calm Down, Obamacare Foes

Some conservatives are aghast that Mitt Romney told NBC’s Meet the Press that there are some health reforms he would support.

“I’m not getting rid of all of health-care reform,” Mr. Romney said in an interview broadcast Sunday, sending conservatives into a fury. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I’m going to put in place.”

Romney was responding to a question from host David Gregory who asked him what he would do about two of the most popular provisions of Obamacare. Romney said up front he would repeal Obamacare, then he immediately acknowledged there are indeed problems which demand solutions.

Romney is right. There are problems in the health sector that need to be fixed, and we can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend otherwise. If we fail to act, the health-reform battles will return with a vengeance.

Here is the full transcript of the relevant part of the Meet the Press exchange:

GREGORY: On health care, you say that you would rescind the president’s health-care plan on day one. Does that mean that you’re prepared to say to Americans, young adults and those with pre-existing conditions, that they would no longer be guaranteed healthcare?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, of course not. I say we’re going to replace Obamacare. And I’m replacing it with my own plan. And, you know, even in Massachusetts where I was governor, our plan there deals with preexisting conditions and with young people. Everybody . . .

GREGORY: So you’d keep that part of the federal plan?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I’m not getting rid of all of health-care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health-care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax advantage basis through their company.

Preexisting-condition coverage and coverage for young people have been two of the more popular parts of Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It would be politically foolish to cast them aside without offering any alternative.

Romney was right to acknowledge there are problems that need to be fixed. The alarmists who think that means he won’t repeal Obamacare need to calm down. Congress will see to it that a bill reaches the Oval Office if Obamacare opponents have majorities in both houses. Then they can get to work in fixing incentives to get health reform right — without turning one-sixth of the economy over to the federal government.

Posted on National Review Online: The Corner, September 10, 2012.


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