Friday, August 17, 2018
Editorials

Romney's clumsy pivot on health reform

Mitt Romney, who was for health care reform before he was against it, now sounds like he's for it again. Or maybe not. The Republican presidential nominee said over the weekend that he would keep key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law he vows to repeal. Then a Romney aide said that wasn't exactly right. In any event, this clumsy pivot toward a general election campaign underscores the popularity of some portions of health care reform and the foolishness of Romney's unqualified pledge to kill it.

In an interview Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Romney said that he would keep some provisions of the Affordable Care Act after he persuades Congress to repeal President Barack Obama's signature legislative accomplishment.

"I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform," Romney said. "There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like. I also want individuals to be able to buy insurance, health insurance, on their own as opposed to only being able to get it on a tax-advantage basis through their company."

Funny, those concessions weren't mentioned during the Republican National Convention, where Obamacare was a dirty word.

The Affordable Care Act already bans insurers from refusing to cover children with pre-existing conditions, and that provision will extend to adults in 2014. The law also enables parents now to keep their children on their health care policies up to age 26. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday that the percentage of adults between 19 and 25 years old who were uninsured last year declined from more than 33 percent to 28 percent. That's the largest annual decline since the CDC began collecting the information 15 years ago. No wonder Romney has seen the light on at least this provision of health care reform.

He may have had an epiphany about banning insurers from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions. An aide tried to clarify later that Romney only wants insurers to keep patients with pre-existing conditions who have continuous coverage. That means their policy would not get canceled, not that the uninsured could find coverage, and it doesn't paper over a moment of candor. And Romney's indication that he wants individuals to be able to more easily buy health insurance themselves rather than through their employers is exactly what the health care exchanges in the Affordable Care Act are designed to achieve.

Romney knows how health care reform works. As Massachusetts governor, he signed into law the 2006 reforms that require most state residents to have health coverage. Insurance is based on spreading the risk, and it's difficult to imagine requiring insurers to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions unless nearly everyone is required to have coverage. Yet as he seeks support from moderate and independent voters following the Republican National Convention, Romney says he would keep the most popular portions of health care reform while repealing the strong medicine that goes with them.

Those calculations don't work. But in the best light they may signal that Romney might be more pragmatic as president than he is as the Republican nominee hostage to the most conservative members of his party.

Comments
Editorial: Did Rick Scott’s wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Editorial: Did Rick Scott’s wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Within weeks of taking office in 2011, Gov. Rick Scott made one of the worst decisions of his administration and refused $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. Within months of leaving office, the governor...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Hillsborough has a place among growing number of governments suing opioid makers

Editorial: Hillsborough has a place among growing number of governments suing opioid makers

Local governments across the land can find plenty of reasons to go after the drug industry over the crisis of opioid addiction.Hillsborough County can find more reasons than most.• In 2016, the county led the state with 579 babies born addicted to dr...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

The environmental crisis in South Florida has fast become a political crisis. Politicians in both parties are busy blaming one another for the waves of toxic algae blooms spreading out from Lake Okeechobee and beyond, fouling both coasts and damaging...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

It is real news that the Hillsborough County School District said this week it will accelerate testing for lead in drinking water and release the results after the Tampa Bay Times reported testing would take years and that until we asked families wer...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18

Bumping into GOP cowardice on guns

One small island of sanity in the generally insane ocean of American gun culture is the near-complete federal ban on civilian possession of fully automatic weapons — machine guns.The nation got a bitter taste last year of what we’d be facing on a reg...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

The revelation that three people in Pinellas County have contracted the measles virus should be a wake-up call to everyone to get vaccinated if they haven’t been — and to implore parents to immunize their kids. Contagious diseases such as measles can...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

A good reputation can vanish overnight, which is why Habitat for Humanity of Hills-borough County made a smart decision by announcing it would seek to buy back 12 mortgages it sold to a Tampa company with a history of flipping properties. The arrange...
Published: 08/14/18
Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

40%of Americans who were eligible to vote for president in 2016 just didn’t bother. That number dwarfs the portion of all eligible voters who cast a ballot for President Donald Trump — 27.6 percent — or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, 28.8 percent...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Why stand your ground has to go

Editorial: Why stand your ground has to go

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe made a reasonable decision to charge Michael Drejka with manslaughter in last month’s deadly Clearwater convenience store parking lot confrontation. The shooting, which erupted over use of a handicap parkin...
Published: 08/13/18
Editorial: Politics aside, arguments are clear for moving appellate court to Tampa

Editorial: Politics aside, arguments are clear for moving appellate court to Tampa

It’s time to re-establish a permanent home for the state appeals court that serves the Tampa Bay region.It makes sense to put it in Tampa, the same as it made sense 30 years ago when the court’s operations began moving piece by piece up Interstate 4 ...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18