Romney's healthcare plan to shadow Bush's mistake?

By Kelly Mehler
08:52 AM

Bloomberg News reported this week Mitt Romney might be on the verge of making a huge mistake when it comes to healthcare. He's supposedly days away from rolling out an alternative healthcare plan to President Obama's, one that involves a change in the tax code's treatment of healthcare.

According to Bloomberg News, there are two versions on the table, with Romney leaning toward the one that would offer much less help to the uninsured.

For years, citizens have paid taxes on their wages but not on their health benefits. Romney's strategy gives people the encouragement to get health insurance through their employers, rather than cashing out the benefits and buying insurance themselves. This reliance on employers is one reason health costs have grown so fast. However, people who cannot gain coverage through their employers are left in the dark by this policy.

Comments on the Bloomberg News article have been negative. @willid3 says that tax credits or deductions will not help with healthcare.

"Because they are of no use until after you file your taxes, you have to borrow the money to pay for it. It's not cheap. The cheap policies tend to be not worth the time to buy as they don't cover much," he commented. @willid3 went on by saying unless the government forces providers to actually publish their prices, healthcare costs wont change.

Romney is also considering reviving President George W. Bush's 2007 idea of granting people with health insurance a "standard deduction" of $15,000 off their taxable income. They would get the same deduction whether they bought cheap or expensive insurance, reinstating the motivation to economize.

"Government should back away from its requirement that hospitals provide essentially unlimited treatment to uninsured people," commented @toml. "The Bush plan or the tax credits plans would both be better than Obamacare or Romneycare.  Much of the problem of coverage is going to have to be left to family or to private charity."

"Romney is an opportunist with no fixed principles," wrote Chris Marquesas. "But now, since reactionaries and Tea Party people in the GOP find such a plan abhorrent, he is quite happy to dump his principles and pander to them with something very different. Not a pretty sight."

Conservatives worry that creating a new tax credit will complicate the code when Romney has called for simplifying it. They will most likely find the plan underwhelming, and criticize it for leaving many uninsured. This opposes Obama's plan, which guarantees that millions of Americans who now lack insurance will get it.

"Individual insurance plans, as opposed to group insurance plans used by employers, are allowed by pre-Obama law to reject customers with pre-existing conditions ranging from asthma to high blood pressure to skin cancer," commented @JAGAJ. "So unless Romney's plan features the biggest two parts of Obama's ACA (coverage for preexisting conditions, and non-discriminatory prices for women) it's a disaster waiting to happen."

What will be the outcome of Romney's healthcare reform plan? Tweet at us @HITNewsTweet and share your opinions!