June 27, 2005
Why Romney's lousy proposal may be a good sign, continued
LeftCenterLeft holds forth on Romney's health care proposal:
And he does have a knack for co-opting progressive initiatives, much like he did in taking Robert Reich's proposal to combine the Turnpike and the DOT. It almost doesn't matter for him that the initiatives fail in the Legislature – he gets to look like the one with bold, reform ideas, and the left branch of the Democrats no longer can get traction on their goals. With health care, for instance, the road to employer-based mandatory health insurance may be harder.
Well... I'm not so sure. Perhaps he's admitted that there is space in the public arena for big ideas. That's not an easy admission for a "conservative" to make, and I think that the ACT! Coalition (which includes Health Care for All, GBIO and others), Sal DiMasi, Travaglini and others can take some credit for forcing this discussion upon him.
As HCFA blogs (hey, what happened to the permalinks?), give the Governor credit for coming up with a big, fat, ambitious, comprehensive, and as it turns out, lousy and detail-free idea. Yes, it's sucked up a lot of the oxygen in the last week regarding health care. But HCFA has highlighted some of the reaction: "I resent the implication in the article that my intention is to defraud the healthcare industry by seeking out medical care and then refusing to pay." Insofar as Romney's idea gets beat up by just about everyone (thanks David!), I'm hoping that more people will be looking for a reasonable -- and suitably ambitious -- alternative. We got one.
I hope that we didn't think that he was just going to out-and-out endorse HA3 (although that would be great), or a universal care constitutional amendment, or something like that -- that's just not realistic. But insofar as he joins the conversation, talking about big steps that we can take to get everyone insured, I welcome it. This is the discussion we should be having. Big ideas, a lot at stake -- because people's lives are at stake.
I see Romney's proposal in the context of a big political tennis game: for the moment, we've forced him into taking the shot that we wanted him to take. It's still up to us to take that lob and put it away.
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I think that the ACT! Coalition (which includes Health Care for All, GBIO and others), Sal DiMasi, Travaglini and others can take some credit for forcing this discussion upon him.
Indeed, they should. But most voters, I imagine, haven't been following the ins-and-outs of this, they just all of a sudden see clips of a television press conference or above-the-fold headlines touting Romney's proposal. If you're right: that the progressive universal coverage plan will prevail in the legislature, then this won't matter, Romney will look weakened and outdone. But if, as I think is a likely outcome, Republicans and conservative or centrist Democrats in the Legislature opt against a plan that would put the onus of insurance on employers, then Romney has indeed set himself up as well as he can.
Posted by: Chris | Jun 27, 2005 6:52:23 PM
Mass. has already seen one of its biggest companies, Gilette, merge and potentially leave the State. Any attempt to impose the costs of healthcare to companies directly will just further drive out business in Mass. The state, because businesses are leaving, is seeing its business tax revenue decline. And the state can't shift the burden of finances back on the cities, (aka provide less money to the cities) since cities are reluctant to raise property taxes any more given the huge real estate boom.
Posted by: Ed | Jun 28, 2005 10:23:33 AM
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