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Romney's Disconnect on Romneycare and Obamacare

Written by The Galen Institute

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The latest tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that ObamaCare remains as unpopular as ever.

Mitt Romney adviser Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota, reinforced those fears this week when he predicted ObamaCare won’t be repealed, even if a Republican wins the White House in November.

“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interviewthat aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”

Every Republican candidate — including Romney — has vowed to repeal the law. The Romney campaign quickly distanced itself from Coleman’s prediction. “With all due respect to Sen. Coleman, he’s wrong,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “Gov. Romney can and will repeal ObamaCare and is committed to doing so.” 

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Mitt_Romney_by_Gage_Skidmore_3No doubt it will be difficult. Thousands of pages of regulations have been written and implemented that already are sinking deep roots into the health sector. In addition, tens of billions of ObamaCare dollars already have been spent that cannot be recovered.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The repeal legislation would have to specify that the regulations that have been issued are void and acknowledge that money which already has been spent cannot be recovered, such as the $5 billion for health insurance for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.

It will be a mess to untangle as the health sector already is reorganizing itself around the law and its many mandates. The administration is going full speed ahead in writing as many regs and implementing as many programs as fast as possible.

The biggest attack after repeal is that Republicans would take away health insurance from millions of people who otherwise would get it under ObamaCare. Republicans will have to offer a credible replace strategy, which Rep. Joe Pitts, chairman of the key health care subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said would be offered this summer. 

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Full speed ahead:

Health Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said this week that even if the Court tosses out the individual mandate, her department will continue to charge ahead.

Sebelius said in an interview on The Daily Show — which she no doubt wishes she hadn’t done — that she’s confident the Supreme Court will uphold the mandate, but that there are alternatives if it doesn’t.

“I think we keep going,” she said. “We find ways to encourage people to become enrolled and become insured. And the mandate’s the fastest way to do it, and it just says, basically, everybody’s got some responsibility. But there are other ways to encourage people to come in.”·

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And about last night’s debate: I wrote a piece recently for The American Spectator which takes apart the many inconsistent statements and positions that Gov. Romney has taken regarding RomneyCare and ObamaCare, including claims he made again during last night’s debate in Jacksonville, FL.·

Romney is stubbornly defensive about his law, even as Republican voters see it as the platform for ObamaCare. John McDonough, who helped design both RomneyCare and then ObamaCare, said the federal law is, “Massachusetts with three more zeros.”

Romney’s statements are just not selling with Republican voters. For example:

I offer suggestions for how Romney can adjust his position in my Spectator piece. Unless he takes steps to remedy his position, he will have trouble convincing Republican voters he is serious about repeal and will have an even harder time mapping a clear plan on health reform should he be elected president.

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CLIP OF THE WEEK

BEYOND THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE: WHY OBAMACARE MUST BE REPEALED

Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute, and Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute examine the continuing debate on ObamaCare, the impact and consequences of these policies, and an alternative path to improve health care for America.

SOURCE: The Galen Institute

The Galen Institute is a non-profit, Section 501(c)(3) public policy research organization devoted to advancing ideas and policies that would create a vibrant, patient-centered health sector. It promotes public debate and education about proposals that support individual freedom, consumer choice, competition, and innovation in the health sector.  It focuses on individual responsibility and control over health care and health insurance, lower costs through competition, and a strong safety net for vulnerable populations.  Galen’s policies will promote continued medical innovation, advances in personalized medicine, and expanded access to health care and coverage in a 21st century Information Age economy.

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