Massachusetts can be proud of having the best healthcare insurance coverage in the country. Only 1% of its citizens are uninsured. Although it has since been tinkered with to make it more workable, former governor Romney should be proud that the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law (RomneyCare) he signed in 2006 became the model for near-twin Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care for America (ObamaCare) in 2010.
But now, in 2012, Romney, who in the primaries did pretzel contortions to win radical right support, has vowed to repeal our increasingly popular ObamaCare on his first day if he should win the election. Not good politics, as polls show the country likes it better each sampling. Pollsters say questions about each individual component of the plan gets roughly 70% approval, which is better than the plan as a whole. By November voters will understand the whole IS the sum of the parts.
America has been surprisingly slow to accept guaranteed health insurance for all its citizens. When the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare to be constitutional, including the mandate, we joined the rest of the globe's industrial nations in freeing everyone from worry that a medical catastrophe might bring financial ruin.
President Truman envisioned Medicare's protections. It was debated 20 years before it was finally signed into law by President Johnson, who also signed Medicaid in 1965. In spite of their popularity these programs are now under attack by conservatives who want to emasculate them with deep cuts or convert them into voucher systems costing seniors an estimated 68% jump in health expenditures. It is just a case of GOP payback, a generous bribe for the health insurance industry. More bonuses for CEOs, leading to more campaign contributions in the future.
The attacks on the mandate, call it what you wish, tax or penalty, only affects the 1% expected to remain uninsured. The concept of the mandate was included in the 1989 healthcare plan devised by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation. President George H. W. Bush used it in his plan, which never became law.
It seems that whenever Democrats agree with a Republican stance, it doesn't lead to a bipartisan solution, instead the obstructionist party simply disowns their own best ideas. Anything that looks good to Democrats must, ipso facto, be opposed. Low congressional approval numbers are an indication that voters are increasingly realizing that just saying "No" is really not governing. Those nay-saying turkeys aren't earning their pay or their benefits.
To be sure our healthcare insurance has a future we have to do everything we can to assure President Obama's re-election. And we need to see to it that we elect a Senator and Representatives that will fight to preserve everyone's right to benefit from modern medicine's miracles.
Richard C. Bartlett, Cotuit, MA