We noted previously that often, bogus stories–such as “flip flops” that aren’t flip flops–can gain credence if they fit into the preferred narrative of other campaigns and/or the media. Well, it looks like another fake storm is a’brewin’ over Governor Romney’s latest health-care proposals. The Wall Street Journal and others are claiming that Governor Romney is inconsistent because the policies he’s proposed as a presidential candidate don’t include all the elements of what he did in Massachusetts. But there is no inconsistency there; Governor Romney has said all along that while his plan was a step forward for Massachusetts, other states are different and should do different things. Translation: Not all other states are left-wing loonie bins, and they should be able to have an even better plan, but he did the best he could in Kennedy Country. For example, here is what Governor Romney himself wrote in the WSJ last year:
How much of our health-care plan applies to other states? A lot. Instead of thinking that the best way to cover the uninsured is by expanding Medicaid, they can instead reform insurance.
Will it work? I’m optimistic, but time will tell. A great deal will depend on the people who implement the program. Legislative adjustments will surely be needed along the way. One great thing about federalism is that states can innovate, demonstrate and incorporate ideas from one another. Other states will learn from our experience and improve on what we’ve done. That’s the way we’ll make health care work for everyone.
Similarly, here is a snippet of an NPR interview from last year:
Q: Stepping back, what impact do you think this will have outside Massachusetts?
Around the country, people are watching because they know this is big. Some on the far left don’t like it because it’s not a single-payer universal coverage program. Some on the far right don’t like it because they don’t like government telling people that they need to get insurance. But the great majority of people, both on the left and the right, believe that this is a step forward.
Q: Can this model be used in other states?
My guess is a lot of states will choose to adopt one or another of the measures we’ve put in place here. But most will give it a little time and watch to see what our experience is. That’s the great thing about having 50 states and the principle of federalism. Let us experiment ourselves. Let us learn from one another.
Bottom line? Governor Romney never intended to “redo Massachusetts” all over the country. Every businessman worth his salt knows that there are different markets requiring different products and strategies–and this businessman-turned-politician also knows quite well that the same is true about the states, having lived in both Utah (perhaps the most conservative state) and Massachusetts (the most left-wing).
NOTE: I link above to Jennifer Rubin’s AmSpecBlog post regarding the recent WSJ editorial not because I think she is lobbing accusations at Governor Romney, but because her summary of the WSJ piece–which is subscription only–is the best I’ve seen.