October 1, 2007 11:44AM

LTE Fact‐​Checking Mitt Romney’s Health Care Oped

The following is a letter I submitted to the editors of the Wall Street Journal regarding Mitt Romney’s recent oped [$] attempting to differentiate his Massachusetts health care reform law from Hillary Clinton’s reform plan:

Mitt Romney goes beyond spin in his attempt to differentiate his Massachusetts health care reform law from Sen. Hillary Clinton’s proposed reforms [“Where HillaryCare Goes Wrong,” September 20].

Romney claims “the reforms I led in Massachusetts…[did] not raise taxes or increase spending.” False. The Massachusetts law requires residents to purchase health insurance, requires many residents to purchase more coverage than they want, and imposes similar mandates on employers – all tax increases. Had Massachusetts not implemented the law, government spending would have been (at least) $385 million lower.

Romney notes that Clinton would “expand government insurance” by letting Americans enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. He then writes that the Massachusetts law “instead allowed the uninsured to choose a private insurance product from one of the many private insurance companies.” The contrast is false. Clinton would open to all Americans a government program through which federal employees currently purchase coverage from private insurers. Romney created a “Connector” that allows all Massachusetts residents to do the same thing. Romney’s Connector is no more or less “government‐​run” than Clinton’s proposed FEHBP.

Romney claims his law resulted in “less regulation.” Though it did eliminate the Commonwealth’s “any willing provider” mandate, on balance Romney’s law increased government regulation. In addition to the individual and employer mandates, it created new requirements that consumers purchase drug coverage, prohibited many high‐​deductible plans, and added a new layer of government bureaucracy to Massachusetts’ already overburdened health insurance market.

The editors turned this LTE down, but ran some good critiques [$] of Romeny’s oped nonetheless.