In today’s Politico there was an article about the health-care bill then governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts signed into law 2005. The bill has been called Obamacare light due to the similarities between the two. The gist of the article was other Republican presidential contenders will use this bill to set themselves apart from the Mr. Romney, i.e. that if elected president Romney would oppose any repeal of the massive health-care legislation passed by the Democrats.
I think the critisism of Romney is unfair for a number of reasons. One is he was a Republican governor in Massachusetts. He was not going to sign a bill that looked like something written by participants at a Tea Party convention. Politics requires compromise and it certainly was better from a consevative standpoint than one that would have been signed by a Democrat.
Second, this type of legislation is what is supposed to happen. Federal laws should rise up from the local and state level–not the other way around. Our federal system allows states to experiment with different types of laws and regulations–to find out what works. More importantly it allows for laws that reflect local customs and beliefs–as opposed to federal laws which are imposed on everyone.
It is like when the FDA tests a new drug. It doesn’t hand it out to everyone suffering from a disease. It performs tests on small groups of patients and if the drug does what it is supposed to do, it okays it for release to the general public.
Finally, politicians should not be held accountable for every policies they endorsed in the past, especially ones which they come to see as a mistake. According to the article, Romney believes the two plans are different and that the one he he signed as governor is superior. In other words, he is afraid to admit he was wrong for fear of looking non-presidential.
Besides, Republicans need to stop focusing on the individuals and start focusing on the policies. The failure of the Massachusett’s experiment should be used to show voters that the Obamacare bill need to be repealed.
I am not writing this because I support Mitt Romney for president. I am doing so because politicians are not allowed to make or learn from their mistakes. Romney should be able to say: When I signed the bill into law I thought it would bring needed reforms to health-care but I was mistaken. It did not work out as planned. We should look at what went right and fix what went wrong.
As Thomas Edison said:
Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward…
When politicians are afraind to admit they are wrong everybody loses.