Advocacy Group Compares Obama and Romney on Health Care

Sep 27, 2012

A non-partisan group has determined that families buying health insurance would pay about twice as much under Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

In a study completed by the national non-profit Familes USA, researches determined that families buying health insurance would pay far more under Mitt Romney’s proposals than President Obama’s signature health care law by 2016, the last year of the next elected president’s term.

Dr. Ron Pollock, Executive Director of Families USA gives the numbers based on the estimated out-of-pocket expense for health care premiums under Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, versus Mitt Romney’s proposals.

The numbers for the so-called  RomneyCandidateCare are based on Mitt Romney’s pledge to  on the repeal  the president’s health care law, and put in place a block grant program to support Medicare and Medicaid, advocated by running-mate Paul Ryan and voted on by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in their budget.  

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, depends on the individual mandate, which requires all citizens to purchase health care or pay a penalty tax, similar to the health care reform law by Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

Dr. Pollock explained that if nothing was done between now and 2016, 56 million Americans will be uninsured. Families USA estimates that under ObamaCare, that number will lesson by 30.7 million becoming insured, while under RomneyCandidateCare, 11.2million more Americans will be uninsured, at 67.2 million total.

The report also compared 2010 ObamaCare and the original 2006 RomneyCare, which was described as a difference of “day and night” between RomneyCandidateCare. Between Obama’s plan and Romeny’s first plan researchers determined strong similarities. Both plans are based on what Dr. Jonathan Gruber, a professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, calls the three-legged stool.

However, Dr. Gruber says they are not identical, mainly in how far the laws extend tax credits to assist low-income families in buying health insurance.

Gruber said that if every state adopted a law identical to the Massahcusetts health care reform law passed in 2006 instead of Obamacare, the differences would be negligible.

Dr. Stuart Altman, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Nixon Administration, and Chair of the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton, compared the future of Medicare and Medicaid under ObamaCare and RomneyCandidateCare.

He said that under ObamaCare, seniors and people with disabilities receive free preventative care, including annual checkups, mammograms, and colonoscopies. If Romney repeals the national health care law, 25.7 million Americans enrolled in Medicare would no longer have those free benefits.

ObamaCare also closes the so-called “doughnut hole” gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors, giving many 50% discounts on brand-name drugs by 2020. RomneyCandidateCare would reopen the gap, costing an average of $613 for the typical beneficiary.

Dr. Altman spoke against the assumption that many politicians are making about Obama billions from Medicare and Medicaid.

The Romney-Ryan plan includes replacing the current Medicaid and Medicare system with a block grant proposal, that would reduce spending on the programs by $800 billion over ten years.  To make up for the lack of money states receive from the Federal government, Dr. Altman said that RomneyCandidateCare’s suggestion of making state programs more efficient to cover the gap in care and coverage unfeasible.

Dr. Altman also said that RomneyCandidateCare would have a negative impact on the quality of care that Americans receive under Medicare and Medicaid.

See the report by Families USA here: