Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NEWS BLOG: Romney’s Obamacare scare

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Even before the Republican primary season was underway, Mitt Romney was promising to slay the Obamacare beast on his first day in office.

Earlier this week, while campaigning in Florida, Romney talked about the reforms he would put in place after repealing the Affordable Care Act. As the Nation's Ben Adler writes, "Romney gave a speech intended to create the false impression that he intends to replace the ACA with something that would provide the same benefits through other means."

Romney is proposing to give everyone a tax break specifically to buy their own health insurance. But as Adler points out, Romney wants to create a new tax deduction, even though he's been saying he would reduce the number of tax deductions.

Romney says free enterprise would magically kick in under his health-care plan, and competition would drive down the cost of health insurance and increase the quality of health insurance.

But Romney's plan could encourage employers to stop providing health-care benefits to their employees altogether.

Despite Romney's spin, under his plan the cost of health insurance is likely to continue increasing at double-digit rates annually - for thinner policies. He says he wants to "help" prevent people from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. But how can he do that when he promises to gut the provisions that prevent it from happening?

What the free market is likely to do instead is reward healthy and younger people with lower costs and stick it to the sick and the poor. That will only create another wave of uninsured Americans who will seek treatment in emergency rooms.

Romney also wants to turn Medicaid over to the states in the form of block grants just as baby boomers are entering the system. This will simply shift the costs of caring for more elderly and disabled Americans to the states, many of which are already swimming in red ink. And he is not saying that block grants will cover all of those costs, which would force the states to raise taxes or cut coverage.

You don't need a crystal ball to predict how that will turn out.

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