Written by Lee Anderson
Posted at American Conservative Party (theamericanconservatives.org)
Mitt Romney has taken a lot of heat over his “Romney Care” effort to insure all citizens while he was governor of Massachusetts. And for good reasons. The Massachusetts plan was supposed to accomplish two things; achieve universal health insurance coverage and controlling costs.
An Op Ed piece written by Romney for the Wall Street Journal said, “Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced.” Sounds good – but results were the opposite.
Let’s address cost control first.When implemented, the last day Massachusetts citizens had to sign up for insurance in compliance with the Romney mandate was November 15, 2008. Those failing to show proof of insurance prior to January 1, 2009 would lose their personal exemption for the 2008 state income tax when they filed. In 2009, the penalty increased to 50 percent of the cost of a standard insurance policy.In 2009, the Cato institute estimated that 400,000 Massachusetts residents had failed to buy the required insurance, resulting in significant penalties for persons failing to by insurance mandated by Governor Romney and the state of Massachusetts. Additionally the program greatly over estimated savings, resulting in a $2 billion dollar projected shortfall through 2019. Meanwhile, businesses in Massachusetts with fewer than 50 employees saw their health insurance premiums grow by 14.7 percent between 2006 and 2008, and increase every year since Romney Care was passed. In an attempt to finally try to contain costs, Massachusetts has begun to consider price controls. Which brings me to the subject of this article – that Romney has more in common with President Obama than you know.
Back in 2005, then Governor Romney imposed CO2 emission caps on the six largest and oldest power plants in the state. His administration’s press release said (and I quote):
Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Massachusetts will take another major step in meeting its commitment to protecting air quality when strict state limitations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants take effect on January 1, 2006.
Massachusetts is the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants. The limits, which target the six largest and oldest power plants in the state, are the toughest in the nation.
In addition to reaffirming existing stringent CO2 limits, the draft regulations announced today, which will be filed next week, contain protections against excessive price increases for businesses and consumers. They allow power generation companies to implement CO2 reductions at their own facilities or fund other reduction projects off-site through a greenhouse gas offset and credits program.
In other words, the Romney administration in 2005 essentially did what Barack Obama’s EPA wants to do now. He imposed CO2 emission caps — the “toughest in the nation” — in an effort to curtail traditional energy production. Not only did Romney impose these costly new regulations, he then imposed price caps to keep power companies from passing the cost along to the consumer. The outcome of the cap was Massachusetts’ electrical production it dropped 18% in four years, from over 46 billion megawatt hours to 38 billion. International imports, however, went from 697 million megawatt hours in 2006 to 4.177 billion megawatt hours two years later, and to almost 5 billion megawatt hours in 2009, more than twice the amount imported in any of the previous twenty years. As we have seen in Romney Care, regulation and price controls eventually drive businesses into bankruptcy or relocation to escape increasing costs destroying profitability, while passing increasing costs to consumers.
And if that wasn’t enough, Obama’s Science Czar, John Holdren, helped architect the Romney CO2 emission caps. Again, I’ll let the Romney Administration press release do the talking:
In the development of greenhouse gas policy, Romney Administration officials have elicited input from environmental and economic policy experts. These include John Holden [sic], professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and chair of the National Commission on Energy Policy and Billy Pizer, and economist at Resources for the Future, an environmental policy think-tank based in Washington DC.
This is the same John Holdren who serves as Obama Science Czar and wrote in favor of coercive government population-control policies in the 1970s, and who in 2009, suggested government-imposed redistribution as a cure for “American exceptionalism”.
As for Mr. William A. (Billy) Pizer, well, that’s even more interesting. It seems he is (or was) head of the Department of Treasury’s Office of Environment and Energy whose mandate it is to “… develop, coordinate, and execute the Treasury Department’s role in the domestic and international environment and energy agenda of the United States… as well as contribute to the development of domestic and international policy options to address climate change.”
I don’t think it is unfair to characterize Governor Romney as having more in common with President Obama and the Democratic Party than conservative ideals. Too often I have read on to many blogs or found myself in to many conversations being implored not to ‘waste my vote’ and make sure I vote to nominate a conservative GOP candidate who can win. The refrain I often hear is “anyone but Obama.” Anyone? Really?
Beware of those who are conservatives in name only. We have one shot at this in 2012. We can’t afford “anyone.”