By Lucia Rafanelli on 7.14.11 @ 6:08AM
As recently as May, Mitt Romney refused to call his state health care legislation, Commonwealth Care, a mistake. When even the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination continues to defend an extensive government insurance program, it is far too easy for President Obama to stand by his own Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Despite growing evidence to the contrary -- including a Congressional Budget Office presentation that calls into question the act's cost-cutting ability -- Democrats repeat claims that Obamacare will reduce health-care spending. But those arguments appear all the less radical alongside Romney's continued justification of Commonwealth Care.
From the start, one of the main selling points of Obamacare was that it would curb costs, benefitting the economy and cutting down on wasteful government spending. In 2008, President Obama said that cost-cutting would be the "starting point" of his attempt at health care legislation, and initial CBO reports that Obamacare would shave $143 billion off the federal deficit made headlines.
But these same predictions of cost-cutting were made in Massachusetts about Romneycare -- and the current data suggests they were far from accurate.
Regarding his health care plan, Mitt Romney wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2006, "Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced."
According to Devon Herrick of the National Center for Policy Analysis and the Heartland Institute, this claim was largely based on the thought "...that newly insured patients [in Massachusetts] would get care (including preventive care) in clinics and skip the emergency room."
This reduction in expensive ER visits was supposed to cut costs, but that never happened. "…costs are rising faster than thought. ER visits did not fall...and premiums are rising," Herrick elaborated.