Obama versus Romney health care plans
While the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle over such questions as whether and when to bomb Iran’s bombastic mullahs back to the sixth century or how to stimulate the economy without destroying the economy, we are presented too often with a sour serenade of unreliable facts and questionable figures.
That is probably true more than anywhere else in the domain of healthcare reform, where claims by each side fly through the air with all the inelegant accuracy of the primitive missiles flung by medieval siege machines.
Which is why Thursday’s report by Families USA on the comparative benefits of “ObamaCare,” versus what it calls “RomneyCandidateCare,” are particularly welcome.
While Families USA, a leader in promoting universal health care reform, clearly has its own agenda, the report’s statistics were reviewed and partially shaped by three esteemed, independent authorities in the field. They are: Stuart Altman, professor of national health policy at Brandeis University, a deputy assistant secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Nixon Administration and a member of President Clinton’s Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare.
Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at MIT and a deputy assistant secretary for Economic Policy in the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Program on Children.
John McDonough, director of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Leadership, who served for five years as the executive director of Health Care for All in Massachusetts, where he played a central role in the 2006 passage of what the report labels “RomneyCare,” the Massachusetts health-care reform program.
The results of the exhaustive study – which compares ObamaCare with RomenyCare and “RomneyCandidateCare” (reflecting the policies candidate Romney is now promoting) – can be distilled into a few particularly salient statistics.
By 2016, the end of the next presidential term, almost 42 million more people will be without health insurance under RomneyCandidateCare than under ObamaCare.
In 2016, families buying non-group insurance on their own would pay almost twice as much on average under RomneyCandidateCare ($11,481) than under ObamaCare ($5,985). In California, the differences are equally stark when comparing the number of people who would get help through the federal tax system in paying for their premiums, and the amount of help they would get.
Under the Obama system, 2.73 million Californians would receive help with an average value per recipient of almost $3,800. Under the Romney plan, the number would be 1.45 million people with a per-recipient value of $2,381.
Nationwide, the number of uninsured under ObamaCare would drop by nearly 31 million people. Under RomneyCandidateCare the number of uninsured would rise by more than 11 million.
Missing in the equation, of course, is cost. And that’s a very serious consideration. But if you wonder which plan would do how much for how many, now we know. And that’s an important set of facts.