National Review: Mitt’s Massachusetts Mandate?


To the Editor


Michael Cannon’s piece on the Massachusetts health program (“Romney’s Folly — Health-care mandates are a middle-class tax” —August 10) creates the erroneous impression that Gov. Mitt Romney and the Heritage Foundation wanted to impose a coverage mandate on employers. Not true.

Governor Romney, like Heritage, steadfastly opposed the employer mandate. He vetoed it, and the Democrats in the state legislature overrode it.

As for the individual mandate enacted into law, that wasn’t Romney’s idea, or Heritage’s either. To cope with an estimated $1.3 billion in uncompensated care costs shifted onto taxpayers, Romney originally proposed giving Massachusetts citizens a choice: either buy health insurance or, if not, post a bond to cover one’s expenses associated with emergency-room care. If that is a mandate, then it is a mandate to pay one’s own bills. There is nothing conservative or “libertarian” about making taxpayers responsible for the consequences of one’s personal irresponsibility. Heritage felt the governor’s formulation of a personal choice — “insurance or bond: you decide” — was a practical and acceptable way to solve the problem of the “free rider” and the costs of uncompensated care: the “mandate” on taxpayers.

Cannon may disagree with that approach to solving a tough problem, or the governor’s decision to sign the bill, but he also has a duty to stick to the facts. The facts are available in Heritage’s analysis of the law at the time of enactment.

Robert E. Moffit
Director, Center for Health Policy Studies
The Heritage Foundation
Washington, D.C.

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4 Responses to “National Review: Mitt’s Massachusetts Mandate?”

  1. E.Williamson
    July 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Great post. I’m glad to see the truth prevails among level headed thinkers.

  2. July 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    Something needs to be done at a higher level than the blogs on Mitt’s health plan. I just wish that Fox would report accurately on this. Republicans are so bent on fighting the Obama health plan -as well they should- that when Obama and the dems say “let’s take parts of Romney’s plan”, the Republicans then say “no, his plan is not working either” in an attempt to keep them out of health care altogether.

    As a result of their tactics in fighting the left, Romney ends up in the cross hairs.

  3. July 30, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m personally getting worried that conservatives around the country are being polarized by what they hear on talk radio, what they watch on cable news programs, what they read in newspapers/magazines, and by what they converse about amongst each other. There’s WAY too much attention given to Sarah Palin and it’s NOT a very good strategy for conservatives to put ANY effort into touting her strengths simply because she is absolutely unelectable. Simple as that. As much as I admire and respect Sarah Palin (well, before she quit as AK’s governor), I certainly have the common sense to admit that there’s no way in the world that she’ll EVER be elected president…at least not in the next four to twelve years. With all of the glamour and attention that Palin gets along with the divisiveness that Obama’s administration is mandating upon all of us it is becoming painfully obvious that we’re losing focus and neglecting to rally behind a person like Mitt Romney (or even Newt Gingrich).

    Romney is hands-down the most qualified and prepared individual to run for president since…well…since…a long, long, long time! If conservatives just closed their eyes for a moment and imagined what an America would look like under the leadership of a Romney/Gingrich ticket then I’m confident that they’d be more than excited about the 2012 election. The powerful voices of the conservative movement have to be the first ones to jump on this idea of rallying behind Romney and Gingrich because they obviously have the bigger stage. The rest of America will follow their cry for responsible leadership through the capable hands of Mitt Romney.

    To date, no one is doing this other than a few fringe blogs (which I’m not diminishing…just stating a fact) and it’s a crying shame. Ann Coulter is really the only person with a large enough stage who is touting Mitt Romney. I only wish Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Church, and Andrew Wilkow were as bold and courageous as Ann Coulter on this matter.

    In my opinion, Mitt is an easy sell as potentially our next American president. His resume is unchallenged by anyone on the left, let alone anyone else on the right! He is an excellent communicator and he even actually writes all of his own stuff! Could any of us imagine what a Barack Obama speech would sound like if he wrote his own stuff? I think the media would have a new person to label as an “idiot” rather than focusing only on their demented views of Bush! Mitt Romney is exactly what we need and is exactly what the doctor ordered if we, as a nation, really want to get back on to the road of strength and unity. I dream of a day where conservatives are able to look past their preacher’s bigotry towards Mormonism; where conservatives are strong enough to stand up and make their voices heard regarding what kind of leadership we need; where conservatives in “high places” think less about offending or upsetting their audience and more about what’s best for America by endorsing and touting Mitt Romney!

    Hey, a guy can dream, right?

    Romney/Gingrich 2012

  4. July 31, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    I think a Romney/Gingrich ticket would be the best! Nothing wrong at all with dreaming. Dreams do come true.

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