Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Inability to Learn

I found this graphic posted on FaceBook a couple of days ago.  It was obviously intended to make 'someone' look bad going into the upcoming Presidential Election. 

For the sake of argument, let's just say the FaceBook member who re-posted the photo from the "I'm voting for Barack Obama in 2012" page is PROBABLY NOT a Romney supporter. 

Yes, let's say this for the sake of argument.  After all, there are so many people arguing constantly so let's NOT argue about this, okay? 

In the words of the late, great, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

[Pausing to stare down at my navel, focusing, girding my loins, and centering myself]

But here's the thing:  There are at least two sides to every argument / story, correct? 

The photo implies that Mitt Romney is a fool for objecting to the Affordable Health Care Act because HE (Mitt Romney) designed it.  He's fallen into the John Kerry trap of being, 'For the legislation before he was against the legislation'.

Okay, point made.  But what about the OTHER point?

What if Mitt Romney has knowledge from his State level experience with ObamneyCare that he wants to prevent a re-do of at the Federal level? 

What if he LEARNED something?

What if he learned that his Massachusetts health experiment was a failure?

(Hmm, a Presidential Candidate capable of learning, vs. a President who refuses to do anything other than doubling down on his policies which have not worked in the past?) 

Gee, which way would I go, given these two choices?


Hey, but this isn't about me!  It's about Health Care which President Obama's supporters say is EXACTLY THE SAME AS MITT ROMNEY'S PLAN FOR MASSACHUSETTS!  (This is what most folks in the Obama Administration have said since Romney locked up the Republican Nomination.)

Okay, accepting their facts as 'truths', let's say that Obama Care IS Romney Care.

Waving my virtual Magic Wand...  Bunny firmly in place...  Nothing up my sleeve...  Nothing between my ears...

POOF!  It's done!!!

ObamaCare IS RomneyCare

By extension then, we can look to RomneyCare to determine how EXCELLENT ObamaCare will be for the other 56 States. 

I cannot speak to this personally, of course, as I am a guy living in New York State without benefit of personal knowledge of either medicine, insurance, or Massachusetts.

But I'll bet I could find someone who...

  • Is a PhD
  • Is a Medical Doctor
  • Is living in Massachusetts
  • Is educated at Harvard
  • Is studying RomneyCare

Oh, yes I can!

Dr. Rachel Nardin, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, with Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler (both Associate Professors of Medicine, Harvard Medical School).

Dr. Nardin is a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Drs. Woolhandler and Himmelstein are primary care physicians at Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Mass.

They wrote a paper about RomneyCare in 2009 entitled: 

Massachusetts’ Plan: A Failed Model for Health Care Reform 

Here are a few excerpts:

In 2006, under the leadership of then-Gov. Mitt Romney, Massachusetts set out to fundamentally change [sound familiar?] how it financed care for the poor, greatly increasing the availability of insurance while decreasing the use of free care by the uninsured. A major impetus for the reform came from the Bush Administration, which insisted that the state reduce block funding of indigent care through the state’s free care pool, or forfeit $385 million in federal Medicaid funds. In addition, there had been considerable activism in the state by supporters of universal health insurance.


The reform has been more expensive than expected, costing $1.1 billion in fiscal 2008 and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009. In the face of a state budget crisis in fall 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick announced that he will keep the reform afloat by draining money from safety-net providers such as public hospitals and community clinics.


By mandating that uninsured residents purchase private health insurance, the law reinforced the economic and political power of health insurance firms. Thus, the reform augments the already high administrative costs of health care. Moreover, the agency that administers the new law (the “Connector”) adds an extra 4 to 5 percentage points to the already high overhead of private health insurance policies.


The Massachusetts reform law is not providing universal access to care, even in a state with highly favorable circumstances, including previously high levels of spending on health care for the poor, high personal incomes, and low rates of uninsurance. It is not a model for the nation.


The state has failed to ensure the availability of comprehensive plans at affordable prices. Despite the merging of the small group and individual insurance markets, which was expected to lower costs in the individual market, premiums continue to be unaffordable for even the least comprehensive (skimpiest) plans. For instance, the reform law specifically exempts uninsured families from fines if no affordable private plan is available. About 79,000 Massachusetts uninsured residents received this exemption in 2007, which excused them from fines, but left them uninsured.

There's much more, 18 pages more, to be exact, you can read at the link above. 

The bottom line is that a group of PhD, MD, Harvard Medical folks took time from their day to write a paper on why RomneyCare does NOT do what it was intended to do.  They even said that it was NOT a model for the nation to pursue.  But who are THEY?  (You know, being from Harvard and all...)

So the next time one of your buddies flash you and toothy grin and tell you that "ObamaCare IS RomneyCare", please understand that they ARE correct.

The difference, of course, is that Mitt Romney learned from HIS mistake and the President is unable to learn from anyone else's (and certainly is incapable of learning from his own).

Prepare for the United States of America to once again be 'Fundamentally Transformed'.

Just don't get sick over it.

Chart courtesy of  http://reason.com/blog/2012/06/25/meanwhile-back-in-massachusetts-romneyca

Because getting sick in the US is getting more expensive than it used to be - for everyone.

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