Romney’s health care plan a necessary compromise

Sara Hoffman

Everyone gets sick and needs a doctor at one point or another. Whether it’s a simple doctor’s excuse for school when little Johnny catches a cold or something much more serious, at some point every American will need the attention of a health care professional. This makes affordable health care and insurance an important issue.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney unveiled his plan for health care Friday, offering a state-based alternative to the universal plans supported by several Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

First, one has to give Romney credit for being straight-up in his proposals. The details of his plan are easily found in the news, whereas many of the details of Clinton’s plan are still left a little shadowy and vague.

Second, Romney’s plan takes into account that health care prices and needs are not the same around the country, and it allows each state to tailor a plan specific to the needs of its citizens.

“A one-size-fits-all national health care system is bound to fail,” Romney said. “It ignores the sharp difference between states, and it relies on Washington bureaucracy to manage.”

That quote right there just about says it all. With as many things as Washington bungles regularly, do you really want them handling your health care needs? They can’t figure out the government support they have now — Social Security, anyone? — so how can we expect them to handle an additional support system?

There’s the trouble with Clinton’s system. While some of her ideas are similar, she would still rely on Washington to manage it. Take her proposed certification programs, for example. Who would run those? Let me guess . another bureaucracy in Washington?

Further, a universal health care system such as the one Clinton proposes would raise taxes. Romney’s plan includes support from the federal government in the form of tax breaks for people who purchase individual insurance, as well as ideas on making that insurance more affordable.

Also, Romney wants to change the way malpractice suits are handled. Finally, someone figured out that malpractice suits waste a lot of money. A question I’d like to ask a lot of people is what really comes out of those suits? After taking care of additional hospital bills, what good does the leftover money do you? Is any amount of money ever going to replace what you lost? No, but it could leave that doctor in debt for the rest of his or her life.

Another reason I think Romney’s plan has the potential to be more effective is simply that it’s fairly simple in concept. Of course, things are always easier said than done — especially when the American government is concerned — but providing the initiative and support to states seems like much less of a strain of federal resources than setting up a whole new national system.

One last thing. This isn’t expanding the role of federal government, which is something Republicans can be very happy about. Hopefully Romney’s health care plan will be a uniting front for Republicans — and others — who distrust a universal health care plan. Also, conservative as it is, perhaps it can steal some votes from the Democrats in 2008.

This important issue requires compromise. Whether we like it or not, something has to be done, and Romney’s plan offers a compromise between those who would like to see a universal health care plan and those who oppose it.

Will Democrats and Republicans ever see eye to eye on health care? I rather doubt it. Such agreement would defeat the purpose of having two different parties. But if we can put in place a system that actually helps people and doesn’t bleed taxpayers to death, that’s what really matters.

Sara Hoffman is a freshman computer technology and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].