The RomneyCare Blues
The American people, in 2008, were taken in by soaring rhetoric and well-produced theatre resulting in the election of the worst president since before the Civil War. Today, the Republican primary voter is faced with less than ideal choices in deciding upon a candidate to oppose and defeat Barack Obama. While that is often the case in election cycles, in 2012 the selection of the candidate has taken on added importance, as that person must be able to implement bold and dramatic changes.
All of those on the Republican stage have a record of accomplishments and failures. It is their previous actions -- not their words, promises, or clever attack ads -- that should be the basis for choosing someone to lead the nation back from the abyss. Mitt Romney has a record as governor of Massachusetts and a business leader, Newt Gingrich as speaker of the House of Representatives, Rick Perry as governor of Texas; Ron Paul as a long-term member of the House of Representatives, Rick Santorum as both a U.S. senator and representative, and Michele Bachmann as a member of the House of Representatives.
The current acknowledged frontrunner and choice of the Republican establishment is Mitt Romney. As with so many others previously christened by the establishment, he is a candidate who would maintain the status quo in Washington -- the most important agenda item for the ruling class. His record as Governor of Massachusetts confirms that mindset. During the debates on RomneyCare, he was warned that his plan could cause a serious problem with access to medical care. Yet he, Ted Kennedy, and the Democrats in the legislature pushed the plan through. Less than four years later, the same discussion was being held in the corridors of the Capital in Washington, D.C.
Among the subjects brought up during the debates regarding the potential problems of ObamaCare was the inevitable doctor shortage. In a 2010 survey published by Investor's Business Daily, "40% of doctors said they 'would retire, seek a nonclinical job in healthcare, or seek a job in a business unrelated to healthcare' over the next three years as the overhaul is phased in."
The National Health Service (NHS) in Great Britain has always served as the "canary in the coal mine" for what is the reality of a socialized health care system. While the supply of doctors has always been a major issue for the NHS, they were able to mitigate the problem to some degree by importing general practitioners in the 1960s and '70s from other countries, notably India, China, and Pakistan. However, this group is now retiring along with others due to a pay freeze, pension changes, and an increasing workload. These steps were initiated by the NHS as their overall costs have skyrocketed in an increasingly aging and less affluent society.
Per the Telegraph:
The NHS is facing a chronic shortage of family doctors after official figures showed some GPs were responsible for 9,000+ patients. Dr. Michael Dixon, Chairman of the NHS Alliance, said it was a question of whether doctors were "able to cater as well for each patient with a list once they get much over 2,000 or 3,000."
England has 25,000 family doctors, but there are growing concerns that the NHS faces a retirement crisis. According to a survey of the British Medical Association published in June, one in eight GPs is planning to retire in two years. [Further,] the number of doctors training as GPs fell by 7 per cent this year, even though more places have been made available.
In the meantime, the delays to see a doctor have reached critical proportions sometimes extending into months if at all.
But Americans need not look overseas to Great Britain; instead, the experience of RomneyCare in Massachusetts has resulted in a similar crisis. A recent study found massive doctor shortages in the Bay State, leading to longer wait times for patients if they were lucky enough to get a doctor at all.
Per the Washington Examiner:
If you are a new patient and want to see a family physician, about half of all practices aren't taking new ones. If you have a public insurance plan, such as Medicare and Medicaid, then you may have some additional trouble receiving care.
The report has serious implications for health care costs in the state, the doctors group said because patients unable to see a primary care physician are likely to seek more expensive emergency room treatment.
"Massachusetts has made great strides in securing insurance coverage for its citizens," said the Massachusetts Medical Association president, Dr. Alice Coombs, referring to the state's landmark 2006 universal health insurance law. "But insurance coverage doesn't equal access to care."
Keep in mind that one of the primary justifications for the individual mandate -- one used by Romney, Ted Kennedy, and the Obama administration -- is that the mandate is needed so that people don't drive up everyone's costs by seeking care in emergency rooms. As is always inevitable when socialist concepts are adopted, the law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head. If you increase coverage without doing anything to address a doctor shortage, unpleasant consequences are bound to happen, and when the incomes of doctors and how they operate their practice are controlled and determined by the state, only the people suffer.
Yet Mitt Romney continues to defend his and Ted Kennedy's creation, claiming it was right for the people of Massachusetts. Obviously it has not been, as not only has doctor access been compromised, but the cost to the state has gone through the roof.
Any health care proposal championed by Ted Kennedy, the father of socialized medicine in the United States, is bound to be a monumental failure. Mitt Romney described Ted Kennedy as his "collaborator," whose work "behind the scenes" was "absolutely essential" for passage of the health care plan. He also praised the senator for winning crucial federal support for the Massachusetts bill, referring to him as the "parent" of RomneyCare in his love-fest with the Massachusetts senator at the bill-signing in 2006.
Is Romney's claim to eliminate ObamaCare when he becomes president a viable and believable statement when he has praised and defended what he accomplished as governor of Massachusetts? He also told the people of Massachusetts that he would not pursue socialist policies or a tax-and-spend agenda when he ran for governor. Yet he did these very things once in the governor's chair, and he built up a record that the Democrats will exploit in the general election.
The final judgment of a candidate for any elective office should be based on what that person actually accomplished while in public office or other positions of tangible responsibility -- not isolated quotes from speeches or books, or empty rhetoric aimed at appealing to one group or another. Anyone can say anything -- and whether it contradicts previous statements is immaterial, as the person in question can claim that he changed his mind -- but no one can escape his or her own actions and accomplishments or lack thereof. Barack Obama is the epitome of a candidate elected on rhetoric and theatre alone. And the country is the worse off because of it.
The voters in the upcoming Republican primaries are taking their responsibility seriously, and that is why Mitt Romney cannot get above a certain level in the polls. He will, in all likelihood, win the nomination, as the establishment and media will continue to denigrate, belittle, and obfuscate the record and accomplishments of the other candidates currently in the field who are not strong enough financially to overcome the barrage.
Republican control of both houses of Congress will take on added importance if Romney is elected president. The conservatives and the Tea Party movement must therefore concentrate on controlling the Republican caucus in the House and Senate. Based on his record as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney will have to forcefully maneuver into enacting the changes necessary to reverse the course the country is on. However, if he wins the nomination and loses to Barack Obama in November, the grassroots revolt against the Republican ruling class will eventuate in the demise of the party in 2016.