During the presidential debate at Hofstra University on Long Island last night, Mitt Romney said the following: "'Obamacare' has been an extraordinary deterrent to enterprises of all kinds hiring people." Only a person steeped in greed and avarice would consider letting Americans' ability to access and to afford health care become a pawn in one's desire to affix POTUS after his last name.
The way he attempted to run over the moderator of the debate, Candy Crowley, and then show disrespect to Obama by pointing at the president like a young associate at Bain Capital and tell him he will get his turn (to speak) should have been a warning that this "bully" does not, and would not, get it when it comes to ensuring our health care either.
In the debate, he touted his health care plan when he was governor, yet right after he is elected president, he tells us he will repeal Obamacare. We know, Mr. Romney, that the architect for your plan, Professor Jon Gruber of MIT, has gone on record saying that the guts of "Romneycare" formed the basis for the Affordable Care Care. Professor Gruber's impact was also felt in the creation of Obamacare. Parenthetically, while you never said so Mr. Romney, you never told us that Romneycare worked so well was because the federal government contributed $385 million to help Massachusetts insure the uninsured.
We know too, Mr. Romney, that Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions (called guaranteed issue), yet the plan you want to put in place instead of Obamacare would only cover such conditions if the policyholder has continuous coverage without an interruption in it, like when one loses his or her job.
We also know that Obamacare does not discriminate based on gender or age, and that it provides the following, by way of example: (1) increased coverage of preventive services; (2) birth control coverage; (3) restrictions on lifetime and annual limits; (4) coverage for children with pre-existing conditions; (5) pre-existing insurance condition insurance plan; (6) no health care barriers for OB/GYN services; (7) access to out-of-network emergency room services; (8) right to appeal health insurance plan decisions; (9) consumer assistance program; (10) more value for the insurance dollar (called "medical-loss ratio" that has already been implemented this past summer when more than $1.0 billion was refunded to policyholders by those insurers who failed to pay at least $0.80 per dollar on benefits); (11) no insurance cancellations for honest mistakes; (12) expanded Medicare coverage (prescription drugs) (that fill the gap, or donut hole, that presently exists for those on Medicare and for which part of the $716 billion that Romney says Obama is taking away from the present Medicare program is earmarked to replace); (13) Indian Health Improvement Act reauthorized; implementing a tanning salon tax; and (15) providing expanded coverage for young adults to age 26 on their parents' plans. Romney continued to say in the debate that Obamacare is no good for America's small businesses. He does not mention, however, tax credits for these enterprises that are built into the federal health plan.
To be sure, there are many other benefits provided by Obamacare that will kick in once the program is fully implemented in 2014.
In the end, it should amaze any voter who really thinks about it this election cycle how our right to be, and remain, healthy should ever be considered an extraordinary deterrent to anything, including economic growth and enterprises looking to hire people. To put this somewhat differently, are having sick or infirm people who cannot afford or access our health system and thus who cannot put in a good day's job less of a deterrent than all of us who can afford it -- those enterprises of which Romney speaks included -- from pitching in financially to ensure that we have a strong and vibrant work force as a result of being able to access and afford our health care system?
Perhaps only a buffoon would say so.