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Romney's position ought to make him the top GOP pick

Posted: November 4, 2011 - 12:03am

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Republicans should support Mitt Romney for president because he has the clearest plan for undoing the health-care plan that President Barack Obama has imposed on this country.

The Affordable Care Act is costly, intrusive and possibly unconstitutional. Despite a multitude of promises, Obama’s new law will not allow people to keep their current plan, will not reduce premiums, and will not “bend the cost curve down.” It also will hike taxes, reduce consumer choice and discourage health innovation.

For all of these reasons, and more, Romney has pledged to repeal the law, and he has a realistic plan for doing so, beginning on day one of his administration.

As president, Romney will sign an executive order on the first day of his administration offering waivers to allow states to opt out of the law. The order is needed because the law forces states to create health exchanges according to the strictures created by bureaucrats in Washington.

As Romney wrote in National Review Online, the order directs “the secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.”

The executive order is an important step, but Romney knows it is not enough. Recognizing that the only way to eliminate the health law is through legislation, he will follow up with a legislative proposal to repeal the law, using the reconciliation strategy to get such a bill though the U.S. Senate.

This one-two punch will give governors and state legislators flexibility in the short term, while focusing on the longer term goal of wiping the law off the books entirely.

Republican candidates agree that repealing the law is necessary, but Romney recognizes that repeal is not enough.

Our nation faces very real problems with health care access, cost and inefficiency. We also must resolve the painful paradox wherein far too many Americans lack health insurance, while at the same time long-term health care costs are threatening to bankrupt us as a nation.

This current situation is unsustainable, and Romney is determined to make fixing our health system a top priority. He plans to strengthen our system through five key reform tenets:

• Restoring state leadership.

• Empowering individual ownership.

• Focusing regulation on making markets work.

• Reforming medical liability.

• Introducing market forces into the system.

These tenets, especially the emphasis on markets, flexibility and liability reform, highlight the contrasts with Obama’s approach, which has expanded government control and protected the interests of lawyers.

This is a crucial point: Medical liability reform alone will save our system $50 billion over a decade, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and Romney is determined to make it happen.

Romney’s approach — not only repealing the law but also replacing it — focuses on flexibility. Romney recognizes that states are laboratories of democracy, and that the federal government cannot impose its health-care will on all 50 states.

He knows from experience that what is works in Massachusetts may not work in every one of the other 49 states. From Florida and Oregon to California and New Hampshire, our states need to have the flexibility to select their own approaches and work together for reform.

Americans across the country recognize that the Affordable Care Act was a costly and ineffective overreach that threatens to undermine our Constitution.

Romney understands that we must have a plan to end this destructive experiment, and then get on to the business of bringing real reform to our costly and inefficient health-care system.

• Troy, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an adjunct professor at Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs and a special adviser for policy to the Mitt Romney campaign.

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