Are Romneycare and Obamacare identical?

A recently published article by former New York Lt. Gov. and Defend Your Healthcare president and founder Dr. Betsy McCaughey says yes.

She says claims that the two plans were alike prompted her to examine them both closely.

“The reason that I went to the Massachusetts Health Care Law of 2006 and investigated it is that I heard the claim made frequently that Romneycare only affected 8 percent of the people in Massachusetts and that it was very unlike the Obama healthcare law,” McCaughey told WND.

“So when I went to read the Massachusetts health care law, especially Chapter 305, I was stunned to see how similar Romneycare and Obamacare are. They’re virtually identical,” McCaughey said.

“Both have an individual mandate; both have an employer mandate. In fact, the Romneycare employer mandate is more rigorous because it applies to small businesses and other organizations that employ 10 or more people rather than 50 or more,” McCaughey said.

“Both mandate the use of electronic health records. In fact, once again Romneycare is tougher because physicians actually lose their license to practice if they don’t comply,” McCaughey said.

“Both have comparative effectiveness and both dictate how doctors treat patients. Both have end of life programs,” McCaughey said. “They seem very similar to me.”

In an interview, McCaughey reveals how both Romneycare and Obamacare deal with end of life issues and the doctor-patient relationship:

McCaughey also says both programs delve into the intricacies of the doctor-patient relationship.

“This road map to cost containment, which was drafted in Massachusetts to implement Romneycare, is virtually identical to the Obama health care law’s plan to ensure that patients within the political jurisdiction follow the guidelines provided by the state rather than use their own medical decision making,” McCaughey said.

“I don’t believe that these panels or boards should be dictating how doctors treat privately insured patients,” McCaughey said.

McCaughey explains how both programs have led to increases in Medicare costs and premium increases for private insurance:

McCaughey concludes that both plans are similar in one major aspect of medical care.

“Both plans put the government in charge of your care even if you have private insurance,” McCaughey said.

She said putting the government in charge will only lead to major increases in cost, both to the level of government involved and eventually the costs hit consumers.

Steve Baldwin, political analyst and fellow with the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government and Social Thought, says McCaughey is correct. Romneycare and Obamacare mandates are expensive and have cost people more money or caused them to lose their insurance coverage, he said.

“Romney instituted a health care reform plan which he trumpeted as a huge free market success story, but in reality it is quite the opposite, the Wall Street Journal said,” Baldwin said.

“But he [Romney] oversold the results, to the applause of the national health care lobby, and imposed an insurance mandate without reforming the state insurance market. As it unfolds, this law is turning out to be far from a free-market success,” Baldwin said, quoting a Wall Street Journal article.

Baldwin added that the plan cost businesses new taxes as well.

Baldwin’s findings are reflected in a study by the Massachusetts-based Center for Small Government. The study says the taxpayers are picking up the tab.

“Romney’s socialized medicine law mandates everyone who doesn’t have insurance to buy, or suffer income tax penalties. There’s yet another ‘off budget’ Mitt Romney tax increase,” the Center for Small Government Study said.

“Romney’s mandate will cost individual taxpayers many thousands of dollars every year in health insurance premiums for unwanted, lousy, over-priced policies, loaded with co-pays, deductibles and exclusions, or force them to pay thousands of dollars every year in new income tax penalties,” said the study.

Baldwin added that Romney was proud of his plan’s requirement that citizens must buy medical insurance.

“Incredibly, Romney favored mandates on business and when at the New Hampshire GOP debate GOP moderator Charlie Gibson brought up his health care reform mandates, Romney responded, ”o, no, I like mandates. The mandates work,'” Baldwin said, also quoting Romney from a 2008 Republican candidate debate.

Baldwin also cited a Cato Institute study.

“As the Cato Institute noted, Romney’s health care plan was historic, ‘It is the first time that a state has mandated that an individual, simply by virtue of living in the state, must purchase a particular state-defined product,'” Baldwin said, quoting the Cato Study.

WND also reported that one of the major impacts of Romneycare is its cost to the state.

It was reported the economic downturn and the Massachusetts individual mandate have led to huge spending increases in Massachusetts state-funded insurance programs.

Gov. Deval Patrick’s fiscal year 2011 budget summary reported MassHealth program spending is projected at $9.8 billion, which is $601 million, or 6.5 percent, above last year’s spending of $9.2 billion.

Baldwin cited additional information, adding to the evidence that the Romneycare plan has added a financial burden to Massachusetts’ taxpayers.

“Collectively, the vast arrays of fees and taxes on business had a very negative effect on the business climate in Massachusetts. The Tax Foundation, a policy group which surveys the business environment for all states, found that under Romney, Massachusetts fell from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to 37th. Indeed, the Tax Foundation, which ranks all states in terms of corporate tax rates, ranked Massachusetts as 47th. Only three states had a worse rating,” Baldwin said.

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