Much has been made of “RomneyCare” — supposedly Mitt’s version of ObamaCare — and conservatives and pseudo-intellectuals who are anxious to join the anyone-but-Romney club lose no time in drawing a comparison between the two in an effort to discredit Romney’s conservative credentials.
Those who do so, however, are either intellectually dishonest or consumers of the same Kool-Aid offered up by liberals who are afraid to face Romney in a general election.
The facts are these: first, Romney has made it very clear that there are significant differences between what was done in Massachusetts and what was done by a dumb, deaf, and blind Congress in 2010; those differences have been explained in detail by the candidate. Second, Romney has said that some provisions of the Massachusetts law should be changed or repealed because they have not worked as planned. Third, Romney has correctly noted that the Massachusetts legislature passed many provisions of the law over his objections — provisions about which he could do nothing because of the numbers of liberal Democrats who sat in the state legislature — and have since made other changes with which he disagrees completely. Fourth — and most important, Romney is committed to a complete and total repeal of ObamaCare, and is preparing a wide range of executive orders to accomplish this task with his signature alone in case the House and Senate refuse to go along.
But all of that misses the real point.
True Constitutional conservatives — of which I am one — cannot have it both ways on this or any other issue. Our federal system gives certain powers to the national government and reserves all others to the states and individuals. Those who understand this principle know well that the Constitution, properly interpreted, does not allow the federal government to enter into health care, much less impose an individual mandate; however, the very same Constitution that prohibits the federal government from acting is utterly silent when it comes to state action. Put another way, Washington may not have the power to impose national health care — but states are free to devise state-based solutions to this pressing problem.
And that is the beauty of our federal system: fifty states get to run fifty different experiments to see which approach works best, and the others are free to follow or go their own way. Personally, I would have hated the Massachusetts law, but I don’t live there, nor do I ever intend to live there. Meanwhile, I am going to be voting for a president — not a governor.
And Mitt has made his position on health care crystal clear: he will repeal ObamaCare and seek, in its place, free-market solutions because, in the end, he is a capitalist who loves America and our free enterprise system — one to which he has contributed much during his career.