What to say about health care

Reuters

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) and vice-presidential candidate U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrive for a campaign rally in Powell, Ohio August 25, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • Expectations among conservatives for a strong #Romney performance on health care have been low.

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  • The general sense of resignation after the #SCOTUS decision changed overnight when Romney selected Ryan as running mate.

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  • Romney and Ryan can offer a compelling alternative to the president’s massive entitlement. –James C. Capretta

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Just a few weeks ago, hope seemed to be fading that Governor  Romney would find a way to get the upper hand in the health-care debate with President Obama. Romney’s candidacy has many strengths. Because of his background, he is very well positioned to carry the party’s economic message, which is almost certainly why he won the nomination. But on health care, former senator Rick Santorum — the last serious Republican contender with Romney for the nomination — surely had it right when he said Romney was not the best person to prosecute the case against Obamacare. After all, the health-care legislation Romney championed in Massachusetts is now known (somewhat unfairly) as the plan that became the model for Obamacare, most especially because it included a mandate that individuals purchase health insurance. Democrats clearly relish the thought of President Obama’s reminding voters that the legislation Romney denounces as a “government takeover” shares some critical features with the legislation he himself signed into law.

So expectations among conservatives for a strong Romney performance on health care have been low. They fell even lower when the Supreme Court upheld most of Obamacare’s key provisions as constitutional. A general sense of resignation had started to settle in that, in 2012, Obamacare would not be exploited as a political opportunity as Romney focused entirely on the president’s miserable economic record.

All of that changed overnight when Romney selected Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate.

The full text of this article is available via subscription at National Review.

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About the Author

 

James C.
Capretta
  • James Capretta has spent more than two decades studying American health care policy. As an associate director at the White House's Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004, he was responsible for all health care, Social Security and welfare issues. Earlier, he served as a senior health policy analyst at the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and at the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. Capretta is also concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. At AEI, he will be researching how to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (best known as Obamacare) with a less expensive reform plan to provide effective and secure health insurance for working-age Americans and their families.

  • Email: James.Capretta@aei.org
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    Name: Neil McCray
    Phone: 202-862-5826
    Email: Neil.McCray@aei.org

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