While the Republican race seems to shift from candidate to candidate with each primary, it seems to be a two horse race between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Here’s a brief look at how they compare on the complex issue of health care.
Mitt Romney on Healthcare
Mitt Romney has had to do a peculiar dance regarding health care. In his home state of Massachusetts, Romney has presided over a successful state-run health care plan, but since state-run health care is not a popular stance with the Republican base that will get him the party nomination. It’s probably the main sticking point as to why he hasn’t already shored up the nomination.
Ironically, the Obama administration cited the Massachusetts health care plan as inspiration for what became the Affordable Care Act. Not only that, the Massachusetts plan is popular with residents. But Romney’s campaign website states:
“Our next president must repeal Obamacare and replace it with market-based reforms that empower states and individuals and reduce health care costs. States and private markets, not the federal government, hold the key to improving our health care system.”
The Romney campaign supports pretty much a standard free market approach. For one, it should be states that decide what works for them, not the federal government.
- Those who are “continuously covered for a specified period of time” should not be denied access to insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
- Individuals should be allowed to purchase insurance across state lines.
- People and small businesses should be allowed to form purchasing pools to lower insurance costs.
Newt Gingrich on Healthcare
Before Newt Gingrich had to make it his business to oppose Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts, he had kind words for it in 2006, saying “We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans,” referring to an individual mandate for healthcare, not unlike car insurance.
This is apparently not true anymore. In fact, there is a video on the Newt Gingrich website with a title claiming that an individual mandate is not only a bad idea, it’s actually unconstitutional.
Here are a few highlights from the current Gingrich health care platform:
- Allow Americans to purchase healthcare across state lines and give them the choice of a tax credit or deduct the value of their health insurance up to a certain amount.
- Reward healthy people by encouraging and reward healthy behaviors
- Everyone on Medicare and Medicaid should be free to choose a Health Savings Account for their coverage.
- Finally one that touts a savings that seems a bit hard to swallow: Funding brain research, according to Gringrich’s site “could lead to Alzheimer’s Disease cures and treatments that could save the federal government over $20 trillion over the next 40 years.”