The panel discussion did end on quite a positive note and I quote from the transcript:
"Gigot: Bret, the governor, nonetheless, is getting a lot of credit for this--for addressing an issue, health care, that a lot of the Republicans just run from, they don't want to have anything to do with; and for getting things done and working in a bipartisan fashion. Do you think this could be the kind of issue that helps him as he seeks the Republican nomination?
Stephens: Absolutely. I mean, you saw how he comes across. He's smart. He's well-informed. And he's providing solutions and working with his Democratic opposition. I think he deserves a certain amount of credit, more so than maybe we've been willing to give him. I think the other thing about the plan that's interesting is he does
take the 20% or so of uninsured people who are eligible for Medicaid and gets
them into Medicaid. And he manages effectively to identify really the 40% of
people who exist somewhere between being eligible for Medicaid and being able to
afford health insurance, who are really sort of the heart of this problem. Now, whether the solution he offers is the right one, I'm not so sure. But he has been a proactive, effective politician in a Democratic state. And I think that's going to give
him a national platform."
For those really interested in informing themselves on the MA Healthcare issue the following will be very revealing:
On May 31st, Ryan Moffit, Ph.D. (director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation) wrote this very positive piece about Romney's plan in the Washington Post.
Another interview at MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews respecting Gov. Romney's healthcare plan was quite positive (it aired on April 13th).
A great resource about the plan is a lecture presentation that Gov. Romney gave at the Heritage Foundation on Jan 26th (about 25 min PowerPoint presentation followed by 15 min of Q&A--just click on "View Event"). This goes through some of the nuts and bolts of the initiative and is a great primer for the uninitiated.
Finally, two recent editorial opinion articles ("Can Massachusetts Lead the Way in Healthcare Reform?" and "Healthcare Reform in Massachusetts--A Work in Progress") from the May 18th New England Journal of Medicine (one of the top three most influential clinical medicine journals worldwide--Lancet and JAMA being the others) review the plan. Both point out some strong points and some potential pitfalls with the first article being more "pro" and the second pointing out more of the "cons." These are very important articles for Romney supporters to be aware of since hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of interested healthcare workers will have read them and will use the same arguments therein detailed (for better or for worse). The author of the first article, Stuart Altman, gives a 6 minute audio interview with the Journal regarding his take on the plan.
If you have not read my personal take on the Mass. Healthcare bill you can find it (along with some lively commentary from visitors) in this Red State diary entry.