I was watching a recent interview with Mitt Romney and wondering what he might do in the future that could be of real service to his country. The answer that came to me would be for President Obama to appoint Romney Secretary of Health and Human Services, with a special charge to efficiently implement the health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Exchanges are the new organizations that will be set up to create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance. They will offer a choice of different health plans, certifying plans that participate and providing information to help consumers better understand their options.
Starting on January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act guarantees that all Americans – regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions – will finally have access to quality, affordable coverage. People will be able to apply for affordable health insurance coverage choices in Health Insurance Marketplaces
when open enrollment begins on October 1. The Health Insurance Marketplace will offer a choice of quality, affordable health plans.“
It seems to me that Mitt Romney might be the perfect person to implement this law that is so close to his program in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, the access side of the problem was addressed but not the cost containment side. Very large insurance pools are needed to obtain a statistical cross section of the entire population and to negotiate deep cost savings from the providers. The Exchanges created under the ACA are big enough.
During the Presidential campaign, Romney bragged about how he negotiated deep savings with healthcare providers while he was CEO at Bain VapCapital. Also, he really did do a fine job in rescuing the Winter Olympics. He has proven his efficacy in negotiations and in attaining results.
I understand that to do what I am suggesting, Romney would have to abandon the Republican healthcare talking points of selling insurance across state lines, expanded Health Savings Accounts and high risk pools to handle people with pre-existing conditions. Frankly, I never thought that he really believed in any of that and that his views and understanding of the issues involved are probably closer to his actions as Governor of Mass.
Creating efficient Exchanges, lowering health care costs as a percentage of GDP, all while providing universal coverage and better health outcomes would be a wonderful legacy for Romney. I hope he and President Obama would consider it.
Gary Schubach, Ed.D.’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Political Science. He is also a Chartered Life Underwriter and has lobbied in both Sacramento and Washington DC, for universal affordable health insurance while a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters.