Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday outlined a plan to replace the federal health reform law if it is struck down by the Supreme Court, and reiterated his pledge to repeal the law if it is upheld.
In remarks at a campaign rally in Florida, Romney said he would transform the nation's health care system to resemble a "consumer market," which would operate on free-market principles, rather than a "government-managed utility." He said that his reform plan would encourage competition that would lower prices for consumers, raise the standard for care quality, and cover the nation's uninsured.
Details of Romney proposal
Romney said he would divert federal Medicaid money and other federal funding to states and make them responsible for covering uninsured residents, while preserving one of the ACA's most popular provisions: A prohibition that bars health insurers from dropping the coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, the proposal applies to individuals who already have health insurance and have lost or changed jobs, not those with pre-existing conditions who are seeking coverage for the first time.
It is unclear how insurers would be expected to provide coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions without an individual mandate, which Romney has promised to repeal if the Supreme Court declares that it is constitutional, The Hill notes.
Romney also announced that his plan would provide individuals with the same kinds of tax breaks that are offered to most employers to purchase their own insurance coverage. U.S. residents would further be allowed to purchase policies across state lines, he said.
According to the Associated Press, Romney was scant on specifics. The plan ignores key measures in the 2006 Massachusetts health care law that he signed as governor, such as a requiring insurance coverage for most residents and providing subsidies to help individuals who cannot afford the coverage
Calls on Court to strike down law
Romney noted that he would repeal any parts of the federal health reform law that might remain if the Supreme Court does not strike down the entire law. He said that he hopes the high court will do "the right thing and turn this thing down." Romney also repeated his pledge to grant waivers from the overhaul's regulations to all 50 states while he moves to repeal the law (Morgan, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 6/12; Easley, The Hill, 6/12).