Romney Loves Individual Mandates
July 31, 2012 by Sam Rolley
It may be time for Republicans who hate the President’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to stop being dishonest with themselves and admit: Mitt Romney probably isn’t going to do much in the way of changing Obamacare.
The evidence for believing Romney actually likes President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative has been there all along, considering how the former Governor actually penned a similar — some say the basis for Obamacare — law in his home State of Massachusetts.
In his traditional flip-floppy fashion, Romney offered another clue illustrating why Americans shouldn’t expect swift Presidential action regarding the repeal of Obamacare if he is elected. Despite the candidate’s tough talk about doing away with the law’s individual mandate and getting “rid of Obamacare and return[ing], under our Constitution, the 10th Amendment, the responsibility and care of healthcare to the people in the States,” he’s fine, actually impressed by, the same sort of mandate in Israel.
During his recent trip to Israel, Romney said:
Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. You spend 8 percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.
Experts point to Israel’s 1995 decision to implement universal healthcare in the nation and require citizens to purchase insurance from one of four health maintenance organizations.
An article last month in The Jewish Daily Forward compared the healthcare of Israel and the United States and explained Israel’s individual mandate:
It meant that everybody had the right — and obligation — to be covered by one of the country’s four not-for-profit HMOs. Residents of the country pay from income-related contributions collected through the tax system, which cover around 40% of HMOs’ costs. The state pays the remaining 60%.
People are allowed to choose which HMO to join and are allowed to change once a year, but the differences are mostly superficial: By law they are obliged to provide a standardized “basket” of services and medicines, from emergency to preventative. Except for some consultations and tests for which the patient makes a contribution to the cost — usually less than $10 — HMOs transfer funds to clinics, health centers and hospitals to cover all services. There are only a handful of completely private hospitals.
Romney’s history with individual mandates in Massachusetts and his recent remarks undoubtedly should have many anti-Obamacare voters wondering if the Republican candidate really is the man for the job of repealing the health law. Perhaps he’ll simply change the name to Romney’s Israelicare.