Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brian McGrory in the Boston Globe:
Maybe I missed something here, but isn’t personal responsibility something that Republicans generally support? The alternative, mind you, is that people who either don’t bother paying for insurance or can’t afford it clog emergency rooms — the most expensive entry point to the health care system — to receive care that’s spread among taxpayers who have already paid for insurance on their own. That’s really what Republicans support?

So to the point, Romney stood up and stood tall last week and defended the Massachusetts law, with the caveat that it was never meant to be a national plan. The authority to tackle health care, Romney said, resides with the states, and what fits well in Massachusetts may not be the best solution in Montana or Mississippi. This is reasonable and practical.

Meaning that conservative commentators just about broke their legs rushing to their keyboards and cameras to tear the speech apart. “Mitt Romney’s Illogical, Terrible Health Care Address,’’ was how the National Review termed it. And that was one of the kinder takes.
He's right. Anybody who listened to the speech should realize that this central problem of health care will remain even after we repeal Obamacare and reform our malpractice laws and allow interstate insurance shopping. The so-called "Free Riders" are actually defrauding the system, in a sense, by failing to insure themselves and then demanding health care when they can't afford it leaving the rest of us to pay for it. It's a de facto entitlement they create for themselves by taking advantage of the Hippocratic Oath and the fact that the law often requires hospitals to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. Would it be better to make it a crime to do so? I find that repellent. Should we allow doctors and hospitals to just turn them away?

What's the conservative position here. Romney says it's the states' responsibility to solve the problem and I think he's right. The federal government is too big, slow and wasteful to do this right. I hate everything about Obamacare, the way it was passed, the bloated bureaucracy it creates, the way it takes our personal control and choice away and the increased burdens it places on businesses and providers. There has to be a better way. It has to be repealed and we need to come to a national consensus, because the default now reward irresponsibility.

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