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Thursday, September 27, 2012

ObamaCare vs. RomneyCandidateCare

Amy Traver

Staff Writer

Andrea’s last post comparing ObamaCare to Romney’s Massachusetts Health Insurance Law (RomneyCare) might leave you with the impression that Romney would do something similar for the nation should he be elected in November. Unfortunately, everything Governor Romney has proposed during his campaign—what we might call RomneyCandidateCare—indicates the exact opposite.

As the Republican presidential candidate, Governor Romney has stated he would repeal ObamaCare—including key protections for consumers, such as provisions that ban lifetime caps and expand the number of affordable coverage options. RomneyCandidateCare, as Families USA’s latest report describes, would make health coverage much less affordable and much less available.

In addition to weakening consumer protections against insurance company abuses, Romney has also vowed to eliminate the premium tax credits that would help middle-class Americans purchase private health insurance. Instead, he would give tax deductions for coverage to fewer Americans. Not only would this policy reduce the number of people eligible for help with the cost of insurance premiums by half, but it would also significantly lower the value of the help they would get.

Ultimately, the difference in the amount of help available to families to pay premiums as well as the difference in the quality of insurance plans would result in families who buy their own coverage spending almost twice as much under RomneyCandidateCare than under ObamaCare. In some states, spending would be even higher; in North Carolina, average spending on health care in 2016 under Romney would be $14,658, compared to just $4,908 under ObamaCare!

Additionally, Romney also plans to dramatically cut the amount of federal support that states receive to run their Medicaid programs and make it incredibly difficult for them to maintain current coverage levels in their state. Ironically, these changes would make it nearly impossible for reforms like RomneyCare in Massachusetts to continue to be successful, let alone allow or encourage similar reforms in other states. You would think the Governor would want to ensure the success of the health reform law he passed in Massachusetts, but the policies he is putting on the table would damage Medicaid program there and across the country.

By 2016, ObamaCare would decrease the number of uninsured by 30.7 million, taking the U.S. a tremendous step forward in ensuring that everyone has access to health care. In contrast, under the policies that Romney has been talking about on the campaign trail, the number of uninsured in the U.S. would increase by 11.2 million by 2016. There would be 50.9 million more uninsured Americans in 2022 with RomneyCandidateCare than ObamaCare. Is that really the direction we want our country to go in?

With the less than 50 days left before the election, it’s our time as citizens and voters to seriously think about what kind of country we want to live in. In November, we will have a choice between two vastly different visions for what health care will look like in 2016. Romney’s Massachusetts health reform is simply not the health reform he plans to take to the White House. All Romney has promised is higher out-of-pocket costs, higher costs for preventive services and prescription drug coverage for seniors, and that millions more Americans will be unable to get affordable health insurance. Is that the future you want to help create?