By Hal C. Scherz, MD and Richard A. Armstrong, MD
As a politician in America today, if you have changed your position on a policy decision, you have not flip- flopped, but instead you have evolved. So says President Obama.
This brings us to healthcare reform and Mitt Romney.
Governor Romney is the best candidate for effective healthcare reform in America. His vision addresses the problems in healthcare which won't be solved by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). The Massachusetts healthcare plan shares similarities with the ACA, and Governor Romney must clearly explain to the public how the Massachusetts experience differs from the national plan. But this is not the political liability which some say is damaging to Romney.
His experience in Massachusetts is an asset because it is consistent with the intent of our nation’s founders- that states would be laboratories of government. So despite assertions that the Governor is flip-flopping on health care, he is simply doing what all successful managers do; he is learning, or in Obama parlance- evolving. He understands that the Massachusetts model is inapplicable in every state. He has an opportunity to control this narrative and explain the reasons for this evolution of thought.
The Massachusetts experiment has been met with mixed reviews among Bay Staters. As an experienced executive, Romney understands that the Massachusetts plan was not the panacea for health system reform that many had hoped but is quick to point out that this is the beauty of state programs which can serve as proving grounds for vetting ideas- good ones which may be workable in other states, as well as bad ones which can be discarded. He simply needs to explain the obvious; that the errors in Massachusetts should not be applied to the nation. Instead, the ACA should be repealed and Congress should work with a chief executive who will honestly tackle the root problems in healthcare- Governor Romney.
So how can the case be made that Romney will be the better healthcare president? It is based on two of his core principles- preservation of individual rights, and getting America back on its feet economically by helping business, not punishing it.