Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hillary the Prophet

The Moose comments on a health care breakthrough.

As the Moose has indicated, he is a strong supporter of universal health care coverage. One of the major obstacles to achieve that objective has been conservative opposition to business or individual mandates. Back in the nineties, many on the right suggested that Hillary-care mandates would result in the end of freedom and impose heavy costs on government, business and individuals.

That is why it is so significant that a conservative Republican Governor has embraced a law imposing an individual mandate and a quasi employer health insurance mandate. Yesterday's Washington Post,

Gov. Mitt Romney (R) supports the proposal, which would require all uninsured adults in the state to purchase some kind of insurance policy by July 1, 2007, or face a fine. Their choices would be expanded to include a range of new and inexpensive policies -- ranging from about $250 per month to nearly free -- from private insurers subsidized by the state.

Romney said the bill, modeled on the state's policy of requiring auto insurance, is intended to end an era in which 550,000 people go without insurance and their hospital and doctor visits are paid for in part with public funds.

"We insist that everybody who drives a car has insurance," Romney said in an interview. "And cars are a lot less expensive than people."

When the Heritage Foundation proposed a universal plan with individual mandates, it was chastised by many on the right as a socialist deviation. Now, Governor Romney, who has Presidential aspirations, has endorsed that very "left wing" concept.

Previously, employer mandates were viewed by conservatives as driving the economy to the darkest depths of the Great Depression. The right wailed that it cost jobs and was the equivalent of a huge tax increase on the private sector.

Will the embrace of this mandate ridden plan cost Governor Romney support on the right? Or have conservatives "grown" and have come to reconcile themselves with the inevitably of universal insurance?

What is clear is that health care access and affordable is an issue that will not go away. And no longer will Republicans be able to get away with the phony palliative of medical savings accounts.

The Massachusetts breakthough is a significant milestone in the health care debate. The question is whether the Republican Party will continue to stand athwart history yelling stop.

Or will the right finally acknowledge that Hillary was a prophet ahead of her time?
-- Posted at 8:18 AM | Link to this post | Email this post