By Former Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)
August 21, 2007
"Each candidate in the 2008 Presidential race will undoubtedly offer a health care plan. Those plans will include initiatives ranging from a single payer system, to employer mandates, to tax incentives for the purchase of private health insurance. But only one candidate has actually done something, waded into the issue and emerged with a successful plan that does not resort to one-size-fits-all, government run 'Hillary Care.' That innovative candidate is former Governor Mitt Romney.
"On April 12, 2006, Governor Romney signed into law landmark legislation ensuring that every resident of Massachusetts would have access to affordable, portable, quality private health insurance – without higher taxes, an employer mandate or a government takeover of health care."
"Governor Romney's health care plan featured a number of reforms. First, his plan deregulated the overburdened Massachusetts insurance market to reduce the cost of private insurance, while giving consumers more choice from a broader range of plans. Second, the plan addressed the problems caused by the fact that many people could not get health care through their employers and could not afford it on the individual market. Third, he redirected the millions of dollars that were being spent on free emergency room care and used it instead to help those who truly were not able to afford private health insurance.
"Finally, Governor Romney recognized that competition is the key to the success of any market – so doing what no one had ever done before, he created a new market where consumers can go to pick the health care plan that suits them best. Called the 'Connector,' this marketplace is not a new regulatory agency or insurance purchasing pool. It is a place that gives people access to more choices, better information, and lower costs in selecting a private health insurance plan."
"What's been the result of all these reforms? Although the reforms were signed into law just over a year ago, the changes are dramatic. The same uninsured individual whose choice was formerly limited to a policy with a $335 a month insurance premium with no drug benefits and a $5,000 deductible now can purchase quality private insurance, which includes coverage for prescription drugs, office and emergency room visits, and a $2,000 deductible, for $175 per month. Between July 1, 2006 and May 1, 2007, nearly 125,000 previously uninsured residents of Massachusetts got health insurance coverage."
… "The bipartisanship, innovation, conservative statesmanship and creativity he exhibited confirms my view that he is the kind of leader this nation needs."
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