So it comes as no surprise that Mitt Romney had a long-range plan to seek the White House, a plan that goes back to his days as the unlikely governor of Massachusetts. The other night, I was watching part of the Frontline report on this year's presidential candidates -- a quadrennial TV special that gives a better look at the race than any other report I've seen, and I learned something that I had suspected was true. When he was still governor, Romney desperately wanted to find an issue that he could resolve, an issue that could establish his credentials as a leader and a problem solver. That issue became health care.
Mitt Romney's health care reforms in Massachusetts were part of a very deliberate plan to impress American voters and give momentum to a presidential campaign. When special advisers showed him a plan that included mandates that all state residents acquire health insurance, Romney was impressed because the plan could establish near universal coverage while reducing the cost to the state. He saw it as a win-win situation. The plan proposed by his special advisers and adopted by his administration is, on nearly every major point, essentially the model on which Obamacare was built. As a matter of fact, it was even called Romneycare.
The only problem for Romney is that he could not build the momentum in the 2008 Republican race for the nomination and he dropped out as it became evident John McCain's once struggling bid for office was regaining steam. That may have been good fortune, considering the way voters jumped off the GOP bandwagon that year.
The new problem for Romney, however, became the fact that Tea Pary Repubicans so vehemently rebelled against Obamacare, that Romney could never use his Massachusetts health care plan as a key asset in his 2012 campaign.
It's a situation that is almost laughable because Romney and Ryan are both forced to fall back on the idea that health care reform should be a state-by-state process and not a federal program. (Can anyone imagine that mess, particularly in a state like Texas where people take a backseat to money?)
Really Mitt? You really believe that a plan you thought was a major win-win for Massachusetts isn't good enough for the nation? You really don't see the savings to be had thanks to the large scale of a federal program compared to disparate plans that only reach to state borders? You really don't think that insurers and health care providers won't rush to find the lowest common denominator when it comes to setting coverage and care standards?
I think Mitt understands that although it is not perfect, the Obama/Romneycare plan that first took root in Massachusetts but is now the law of the land across the country was a creative and effective way to expand health care coverage in America and improve the quality of care for all Americans. He just couldn't afford to say so during his bid for the GOP nomination and I fear he is now bound to stay with that postition ... which in itself is a position he is not accustomed to being in.