Mitt Romney’s Pre-Existing Conditions

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It’s hard to tell what Mitt Romney would do to solve the problem of sick uninsured Americans. Right now, these people often can’t find insurers willing to sell them policies or, if they can, the costs are prohibitive. Under Obama’s Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will be required, beginning in 2014, to sell policies to anyone who wants one and to ignore customers’ health status when setting prices. This is possible because the ACA also requires nearly everyone to buy health insurance, flooding the market with millions of new customers, including healthy people, whose premiums will subsidize the cost of covering the sick.

Covering people with pre-existing conditions is one of the most popular pieces of Obamacare, and Mitt Romney is doing his best to imply that his health care plan would accomplish this lofty goal as well. But there are a few problems. Romney wants to repeal Obamacare and he doesn’t really have a comprehensive plan to replace it, at least not one that he’s made publicly available. In the absence of this, voters can look at his runningmate Paul Ryan’s budget proposals that include health care policy or they can look at Massachusetts, which essentially has a state version of Obamacare championed by Romney when he was governor.

He’s at the top of the ticket, so it’s not fair to judge him by Ryan’s past proposals, he says. And the Massachusetts health care reform was right for Massachusetts, but not the nation, he says, so it’s not fair to judge his presidential plans based on that. That’s fine. But surely it must be fair to judge what Romney said about the problem of the uninsured last time he was running for president, right?

Here’s what Romney said in January 2008, explaining why, prior to reform in Massachusetts, uninsured people who could afford insurance nonetheless didn’t buy it:

They said why should we buy it? If we get sick, we can go to the hospital and get care for free…They shouldn’t be allowed just to show up at the hospital and say somebody else should pay for me, so we said no more free riders…We said if you can afford insurance, then either have the insurance or get a health savings account, pay your own way, but no more free ride…I think it’s the conservative approach – to make sure that people who can afford insurance are getting it at their expense, not at the expense of the taxpayers or the government. That I consider a step towards socialism.

Four years later, Romney talks about emergency room hospital care for the uninusured as a safety net, not as proof of irresponsibility. Here’s how the Columbus Post Dispatch reported what Romney told its editorial board on Wednesday:

“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’  ” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.

“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”

He pointed out that federal law requires hospitals to treat those without health insurance — although hospital officials frequently say that drives up health-care costs.

Romney made similar comments to 60 Minutes back in September, explaining that people without insurance have an option to get care—in the hospital.

This week, Romney also told the Post Dispatch that people with pre-existing conditions should have the “choice” to buy insurance, but he didn’t specify how he might make that affordable for customers. Nor, for that matter, did Romney say that hospital emergency care was only an option for people who couldn’t have afforded to buy insurance. His comments create the same kind of confusion left after he said in September that people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage under his plan, without specifying how he would accomplish this very difficult and expensive task.

If cogent health care policy is about anything, it’s the specifics of how exactly you get to goals that are hard and expensive, but popular—like covering the uninsured and people who are sick, and especially people who are both of these things. So does Mitt Romney no longer believe in “no more free riders”? My guess is that he still thinks people should take responsibility for their own health care. He also said this to the Post Dispatch:

“You have to deal with those people who are currently uninsured, and help them have the opportunity to have insurance,” said Romney, who favors letting states craft their own plans.

“But then once people have all had that opportunity to become insured, if someone chooses not to become insured, and waits for 10 or 20 years and then gets ill and then says ‘Now I want insurance,’ you could hardly say to an insurance company, ‘Oh, you must take this person now that they’re sick,’ or there’d literally be no reason to have insurance.

“It’d be the same thing as saying, ‘Look, you’re not required to have homeowners insurance, but if your home catches fire, then you can get insurance at that point.’ That wouldn’t make a lot of sense.”

Romney seems to be implying that he favors a limited open enrollment period. Buy insurance in this window and you can get it for a reasonable price. Get sick later and want insurance? You’re out of luck. Stay uninsured and head to the emergency room where some or all of the tab will probably be picked up by the federal government. Smart health policy wonks have pitched similar ideas in the past. But this plan could only work in the context of a comprehensive health insurance plan that somehow makes insurances prices reasonable. Obamacare gets to affordability with federal subsidies. Romney? We still don’t know.

53 comments
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Lan_STARKS
Lan_STARKS

So if a woman is raped and gets pregnant then it is HER fault since she didn't use protection... right?  At the same time she should DEFINITELY take care of the child that would constantly remind her that she was violated (because of her own lack of protection) by someone who didn't ask for permission... right?  Oh but wait Republicans feel some rapes are preventable... my bad.  Now if you are speaking in regards to females that intentionally have unprotected sex (minors) then THAT starts at home.  ONLY at that point can you teach kids right from wrong and how to respect themselves and others.  You want to see a change in the youth of today.... then bring back after school cartoons.  Someone tell me why when kids come home now a days the ONLY thing on TV is court tv (Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, People's Court, Divorce Court, Judge Judy, and the likes).  Kids are grown because parents are to busy to be parents and leave it up them to make the best decisions based on what they see and experience... well THIS is why individuals like George W. and Willard are even allowed to speak their non sense... because no one is willing to stick their neck out and tell them EXACTLY where to shove it.  If we didn't riot and lose our minds when GW was re-elected then I don't see "OUR" society really stepping up when the time comes IF Willard somehow squeaks in.

Lan_STARKS
Lan_STARKS

First to LouannO ... so if a woman is raped and gets pregnant then it is HER fault since she didn't use protection... right?  At the same time she should DEFINITELY take care of the child that would constantly remind her that she was violated (because of her own lack of protection) by someone who didn't ask for permission... right?  Oh but wait Republicans feel some rapes are preventable... my bad.  Now if you are speaking in regards to females that intentionally have unprotected sex (minors) then THAT starts at home.  ONLY at that point can you teach kids right from wrong and how to respect themselves and others.  

You want to see a change in the youth of today.... then bring back after school cartoons.  Someone tell me why when kids come home now a days the ONLY thing on TV is court tv (Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, People's Court, Divorce Court, Judge Judy, and the likes).  Kids are grown because parents are to busy to be parents and leave it up them to make the best decisions based on what they see and experience... well THIS is why individuals like George W. and Willard are even allowed to speak their non sense... because no one is willing to stick their neck out and tell them EXACTLY where to shove it.  If we didn't riot and lose our minds when GW was re-elected then I don't see "OUR" society really stepping up (if honestly disappointed) when the time comes IF Willard somehow squeaks in.

lurch3
lurch3

Romney's "plan" is emergency rooms can now diagnose any number of diseases and treat them in the emergency room. Diabetes? Here is needles, insulin, pills for circulation so your feet and hands don't rot off. If you will step to the next curtain they will check your kidneys and give you dialysis. Then go to the next for a heart stress test.  Oh, and it's all FREE!!!!!!!!

LouannO
LouannO

I as an American are tired of paying for other people's decisions. If they decide to sit on their butts and sponge, why should I have to pay for that choice. If a woman goes out and had unprotected sex and gets pregnant, why should I have to pay either for an abortion, or the care of that child. Same with insurance, insurance companies should take people with preexisting conditions, but why should I have to pay for it. The insurance companies have been getting rich off the back of taxpayers for years, they need to step up or pay high fines to put towards people who are without health care.

Gregory Glass
Gregory Glass

Hey, here's a REAL story.

"What we don't know about Barry Soetoro, aka Barack Obama"

You can then do an in-depth report on things we don't know about Soetoro, like his college transcripts, Selective Service information, Social Security information, birth information, foreign student status, who paid for his college, how did he manage to get into Columbia and Harvard with average grades at Occidental, why would Saudi Arabia give over $1 million to Harvard to take Obama, what articles has he written, was he EVER printed in ANY law review,  and on, and on, and on.?

Give us something REAL, not your made up propaganda from the WH garbage.

Oh, but that would require honesty, integrity; and let's face it, Time and ALL of it's employees have no integrity OR honesty. So, I guess that's asking for too much. Can't give what you do not possess.

lurch3
lurch3

 Must be scary in your house what with Obama lurking in your toaster, spoiling your milk, breaking all the eggs.

oldprofessor
oldprofessor

Obama's record at Harvard Law School was better than Romney's!!!!!!

oldprofessor
oldprofessor

Gregory...Both Obama and Romney are graduates of Harvard Law School...so that should offer a valid comparison of the two men.

Obama graduated with Summa C-u-m Laude honors.

Romney graduated with C-u-m Laude honors.

So Obama ranked higher the year he graduated than Romney did the year he graduated.   Now that is not a direct comparison because their honors were in relation to their graduating class. 

 Obama's record is generally considered better than that of Romney.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Here is something else we don't know. Why was Mitt's 2010 Tax Return missing the UBS forms which would shed light on whether or not he had to cut a plea deal with the IRS as part of the Swiss Tax Amnesty scandal.

lurch3
lurch3

 How would you know who Romney is serving when he makes a foreign policy/national security decision if you don't know where is money is?

Commentary Fortytwo
Commentary Fortytwo

Mitt is all hat, no cowboy. He has publicly endorsed every one of Ryan's extreme positions on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and women's healthcare, but claims his plan is "different." He just won't tell us how.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

It’s hard to tell what Mitt Romney would do to solve the problem of sick uninsured Americans.
"Let them eat cake." comes to mind...

CissyRenee
CissyRenee

As long as his church and family are fat and healthy,I don't think Mitt would even spare cake for the starving.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

The Republican preexisting conditions are greed, selfishness, social control, and theocratic stupidity.  These conditions are not covered by health plans, and the only cure is voting against the scoundrels.

Nordancer
Nordancer

Healthcare is not free at the emergency room. You end up with giant inflated bills, harrassing collection calls, and destroyed credit. Just puts the poor in a deeper hole.

MrObvious
MrObvious

And if they patient don't pay it everyone else will. It's not like the hospital or the healthcare center does it for free.

Nordancer
Nordancer

The damage to your credit is a cost much higher than not paying your emergency room visit. When the hospital is making a 7000% profit how much are they really losing? 30 minutes of a doctor's time. That's worth $50, not $750.

vstillwell
vstillwell

Romney, like most of those Wall Street clowns, is an overpaid idiot. 

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

Are you trying to tell me what Mitt is saying? Mitt doesn't know what Mitt is saying.

MrObvious
MrObvious

He knows; he's saying exactly all the things he need to say to be elected.

Kawika Reed
Kawika Reed

just google romney debates romney its a great laugh and puts all if this into context

Earl Gray
Earl Gray

Finding meaning in Romney's "vague speak" is like trying to tell the future with chicken gizzards...  People swear you can do it, and read all kinds of possibilities into it, but in the end it is meaningless, and that is just the way he wants it...

He speaks vaguely and flip flops not out of weakness, but out of cunning.  he has stumbled on the fact that he has now taken so man y positions on so many subjects, that he can say that he is for or against absolutely anything, and point to some statement to back it up, because he has said because literally everything, or at least something that he can construe to be close enough to the position he needs to please the people he is in front of...

He then quietly walks that thing back to the next group(as necessary) if they have a problem with it.  The last group gets a wink and a nod saying he REALLY doesn't mean the new thing... and on he goes...  It is a similar situation ion the Internet..  Given that people look for specific things, if you look up Romney pro life, you will find that he is that.  If you look up Romney pro choice, you will find that also...

He is clearly (to anyone watching closely) a shape shifter.  The problem is that he is slick, and the media has become to timid (or lazy) to call him out.  They show up day after day with a microphone, and become just another mouth piece for all campaigns, rather than doing their jobs, which is to check the veracity of what candidates say, and monitor their positions.  Watching the media today, they are clearly afraid to ask the wrong questions....

There is a reason the numerous fact checking sites have popped up... 

http://www.politifact.com/pers...

http://www.factcheck.org/2012/...

It is because the media isn't doing their collective jobs...

pollardty
pollardty

Love your comment and also your tea.

sacredh
sacredh

Mitt knows what it's like to be middle class and have middle class problems like I know to go about hiding millions overseas or in tax havens. Here's a hint. I don't have a f'n clue about how to hide money. If I hide money, it's under the mattress or in the cookie jar.

RockerFCC
RockerFCC

Tell you what Mitt, here is how your emergency room plan works. My 29 YO daughter lost her job in construction after 12 years with the same employers, one of his best workers, just got too slow. Couldn't find work ANYWHERE in the field and had to take a minimum wage job, of course with no insurance, just to get by. She got sick and when it became obvious she was badly deteriorating, had to go to an ER, 6 hours was all she was there, 6 hours! 

She was diagnosed with very low Potassium levels, another day without treatment and she probably starts convulsing and having severe abdominal problems.

Blood work, 1 abdominal CAT scan, 3 IV bags and 6 hours of monitoring. The Bill???? $12,000

Yea, those emergency rooms work great!

filmnoia
filmnoia

I wish your daughter well. My oldest daughter is the same age. But, hey, just think, under Ryan's voucher plan someone older in the same condition would have a voucher to pay that $12K cost. Of course, that's all they get, so any hospital costs beyond that you would incur,  so in GOP world it's well, tough s**t.

Commentary Fortytwo
Commentary Fortytwo

No, the voucher is for $6000 a year. At age 63 my insurance costs $12,000 a year. Imagine what they would charge a 65 or 70 year old then deduct that difference from the average SS check (for women) of $1200 a month. Good luck with that.

spud8meister
spud8meister

"We won't run a campaign based on fact checking"

Or facts

Or analysis

Or by use of the human brain

northpolekid
northpolekid

Oh I didn't know emergency rooms provided treatment for cancer patients and other chronic illnesses such as crohn's/colitis and diabetes.  WHAT A CLOWN.  He really could care less.

bobell
bobell

People with chronic condictions just keep coming back.  I've heard that in some ERs they're called "frequent flyers."  Eventually they die. (Yeah, sure, we all do; they just turn out to be in more of a hurry.)

We should be embarrassed before the entire civilized world for the monstrosity we call our health care system.  ObamaCare is only a modest step in fixing it.

Reva Pearlston
Reva Pearlston

"ObamaCare", as it's currently constituted, is not what Obama wanted or sent to congress.  It's an extremely watered-down version with lots of compromises that were made in order to try to get bipartisan support.  The same has been true of every piece of legislation that Obama has sent to congress.  

For those of you who can't figure out why this is so important, and for those of you who say that Obama hasn't done anything to help the economy, the truth is that by trying to get bipartisan support for everything, legislation has been watered down by congress (read the republicans in congress).  That means that what you see has far, far more in common with the republican vision for you country than with the democratic vision.  

With that in mind, how can you complain that Obama has done nothing when it's the republicans who have stalled and changed and torn the guts out of everything that has been proposed.  You've got the system that the republicans want.  

Recognize that little fact, and you can blame the people responsible for that mess.  They're the same people who ditched regulatory oversight of Wall Street, who deregulated major polluting industries, and the people who do everything they can to take advantage of all of those loopholes in order to do what they look down on the "47%" for doing - not paying taxes.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the authors of the current mess in your country - the republican party.

lurch3
lurch3

 @texas_2012_Independent:disqus

I know Republicans like to say Democrats had control of both houses for two years. But they did not.

You need 60 votes in the Senate to pass without reconciliation. Only budgetary legislation can be passed by reconciliation.

Democrats had a 60 seat majority from September 24, 2009 thru February 4, 2010. 4 months; not 2 years.

They had filibuster proof majority in the Senate for seven months, after Al Franken was finally seated in July 2009 when Ted Kennedy died August 25, 2009. His replacement was appointed September 25, 2009 and on February 4, 2010 Scott Brown took office after winning Kennedy's seat.

oldprofessor
oldprofessor

Yep!!  Reva, You have it right.

And the national debt can be solved the same way it was solved after WWII....when is was relatively higher than now.   It requires more taxes and more spending cuts for 10 years or so.

When Reagan was elected,  he chose to begin a credit card budget....which was OK because our national debt was at a level it made sense to build and fund some government programs on credit.    Unfortunately,  EVERY congress and president since then has kept the country on the same credit program.    The only relief was in the 2nd term of Clinton.

texas_2012_Independent
texas_2012_Independent

Well said Reva! This is perhaps the most clearly stated cause of the malaise we have experienced the past 4 years I have read in a while. The only thing I would add is related to the claim that Mr. Obama had control of both houses for the 1st two years. He did not pass more legislation during that time because he was trying very hard to include the Republicans in creating his proposals, looking for a partnership; they refused to work with him. It wasn't until congress became even more radical that he had to push an agenda through Prsidential proclamations to get anything done. A sad state of affairs indeed.  

anon76returns
anon76returns

Don't forget about MS!  My local ER keeps a couple of dancy-horsies on retainer, just in case.

Commentary Fortytwo
Commentary Fortytwo

I can just imagine the reception I would get in an emergency room for my rheumatoid arthritis. But without healthcare my meds would cost over $40K a year. Do emergency rooms do dialysis for kidney disease? Provide interferon for MS? Didn't think so.

jillkennedy
jillkennedy

Sickening! Romney must not win but it's looking more and more likely every day. Here is an desperate plea from 89 year old Lester Aldrich in Michigan on why Romney Must Not Win!

http://mankabros.com/blogs/tho...

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

The Governor wants to play 'legal speak' with peoples very real lives. I've lost every ounce of respect for him.

"People don't die because they don't have health insurance".

No, they die because they didn't have legitimate access to health care. 

I mean it is true people don't die because they don't have health insurance.. lack of health insurance never killed anyone. It is heart attacks and high blood pressure and a host of other reasons.. which are due to lack of health care, but not having health insurance NEVER killed anyone.

And a 'one time amnesty'.. ha, imagine that floodgate.. wow.. will anyone real call him on this?

bobell
bobell

About a year ago a boy in the Washington, DC area died of an oral abscess because his mother lacked medical insurance and didn't think she could afford to get him treated. When he collapsed, she took him to the emergency room, where he received untold thousands of dollars worth of medical care before dying of the infection.

Are you sure lack of insurance never killed anyone? (I agree with you generally, but I think you concede too much on this point.)

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

I remember that case. It's a good example of why Mitt is wrong.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

See now there's your trouble in a nutshell. You're operating under the assumption that what Mitt Romney says actually carries meaning. Want to cover people with preexisting conditions? Just wave the magic wand. Want to cut tax rates without cutting revenues? Just wave it again. Want to get journalists to stop asking pesky questions. There's a wand for that as well!

Art Valla
Art Valla

 Sick people will just get in Romney's time machine and have their medical crisis retroactively, same as when Romney retroactively resigned from Bain.

Simple solution to a simple problem.

pollardty
pollardty

Giving the benefit of the doubt to Mitt is like a match to an arsonist.

sacredh
sacredh

Or me a keyboard and trusting me to behave myself.

sacredh
sacredh

Good Lord, I know! Turning me loose on the internet  is about as good an idea as spiking the punch at a Purity Ball with viagra. You just know there's going to be a lot of 'splainin' to do.

sacredh
sacredh

"He’s at the top of the ticket, so it’s not fair to judge him by Ryan’s past proposals, he says"

.

We'd judge Mitt's proposal if he had one.

filmnoia
filmnoia

Looking at the comments in the Columbus Dispatch  about Willard's healthcare cluelessness it seems that your fellow Ohioans are laughing at him.

sacredh
sacredh

Romney's in a strange position here. People just don't trust him. Many don't really care for Obama, but do you go with the guy you don't like or don't trust?

LouannO
LouannO

to filmnoia

I voted for Obama the first time, I do not like Romney either. But The things the Obama administration will not say about jobs is:

1) The amount of jobs lost when the auto industry was bailed out. All the dealerships that closed, the support staff were all unemployed, the mechanics, the sales people, and more.

2) All of the companies that got business from the dealerships; auto parts suppliers, cleaning companies, landscapers, and more.

3) The tax base that was lost in each of these communities; some of these buildings still stand empty. The police in these community still need to patrol these locations.

The Obama administration said they will make taxpayers who make over $250,000. pay more taxes; what about ALL of the businesses who are individually owned that make over that much, there are many. These need to be separated out, or they may have to cut back on employees, benefits, etc to pay the taxes. The government has to CUT BACK on their spending, they have to take pay cuts. I am tired of paying, and paying for government overspending. That is why I voted for Romney, they need to get people back to work to earn and contribute again.

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

@S_Deemer:disqus As a Buckeye transplanted to the Wolverine State 30 years ago, I have to, sadly, concur.

Although, in the case of Michigan, it seems we got a heapin' helpin' of "Sweet Home" Alabamans, who brought their prejudices with them...

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@Filmnoia : I was a student at University of Michigan when MLK was assassinated. One of my roommates, a Michigander, said, "Thank god somebody finally shot that n*****. Michigan is north of Ohio; racism exists everywhere. 

sacredh
sacredh

You don't have to go south of Columbus to find racism alive and well in Ohio. I live just 5 miles as the crow flys from WVA and a Texas criminal that was in prison took 40% of the vote in the democratic primary there. It's not much different on this side of the river.

filmnoia
filmnoia

With the Obama Admin assisting the auto industry and with SB5 last year getting about 62%  I would think Ohio would be a natural for Obama. The fact that it is this close only tells me that the ugly head of racism is very much in the equation. You go south of Columbus and it's like you're in  friggin Alabama.