All the smart people on television are saying that the Massachusetts health care system, enacted when Mitt Romney was governor will be a mill stone around his neck in 2012.
As a matter of fact, they’re starting to call it RomneyCare and comparing it with ObamaCare.
RomneyCare, they tell us, will drive the conservative base of the Republican Party away from Romney.
For two reasons.
First because it proves that the former Bay State Governor favors socialized medicine, just like Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of ‘em.
And second, because the Massachusetts plan has turned out to be enormously, prohibitively, expensive. Just like, so they say, the federal version is going to be.
It’s too bad. Too bad that the people of the United States will be distracted from the real issue.
It’s not about whether RomneyCare is better than ObamaCare. Or whether either or both systems are too expensive or too intrusive in our lives, or too restricting of the medical profession, or whether either or both systems restrict medical services for the elderly, or any of the other details where the devil is to be found.
No sir, the real issue is very simple.
IS HEALTH CARE A STATE OR A FEDERAL MATTER?
Is the health of the citizens one of those things which were left to the exclusive jurisdiction of the individual states under the tenth amendment, or did the people who ratified the constitution in 1789 intend that every sneeze and cough and laceration and policy of medical insurance of every person in America is an incident of interstate commerce and subject to regulation by the government in Washington D.C.?
Mitt Romney owes no apology for the Massachusetts health care plan. Massachusetts is a liberal state. It has a liberal legislature. Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts. He was a public servant.
If the liberal people of Massachusetts and their liberal legislators wanted to establish socialized medicine in their state, it was the proper role of their Governor to help them do it.
If the Massachusetts plan is not a successful blue print for health care that other states might want to adopt, so be it. It’s a state by state issue.
And Romney owes no apology to the Republican Party for getting himself elected Governor of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.
On the contrary, it is one of the strongest arguments in favor of his election as President of the United States. The occupant of the oval office has to be the President of the whole nation. East to West. North to South. Liberal and Conservative.
The White House is not a place for an ideolog, a policy wonk, a guy with an agenda. It’s a place for a pragmatic Chief Executive, who can work with diverse representatives of the people in Congress, who can protect and defend the constitution of the United States, who can make sure that in its enthusiasm for doing what is popular with its constituents, the Congressional train does not jump off the constitutional track.
Framed as an issue between states’ rights and national powers, the RomneyCare v ObamaCare debate highlights and capsulizes the fundamental decision which will determine whether the United States of America will survive as a nation into the twenty-second century.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was split asunder after an embarrassing, inconclusive incursion into Afghanistan. It could happen here.
The dichotomy between the French Revolution and the American Revolution remains. What is not decided by civil debate and rational compromise will be determined by force of arms and blood in the streets.
It could happen here.