One strange idea that Mitt Romney’s put forward is that his health care plan differed from the Affordable Care Act in that it didn’t raise taxes. Now if you think about it, Max Baucus, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Nancy Ann DeParle, and everyone else would have to be pretty amazingly stupid for this to be the case in any really meaningful way. There’s this template for a mandate/regulate/subsidize universal health care plan that can be enacted without raising taxes, but they perversely decide to not just copy it. Why?
Michael Cannon disposes with this idea:
Mitt Romney increased taxes the moment he signed RomneyCare. RomneyCare increased net government spending. That in itself is an increase in the tax burden. All that remains to be determined is who will pay for that added spending and when they will pay it. The fact that the incidence of that added tax burden fell after Romney left office does not mean that’s when the added tax burden was created.
Mitt Romney has raised taxes on as many people as Barack Obama has. Half of RomneyCare’s new spending was financed by the federal government through the Medicaid program, which is financed through federal taxes, which fall on taxpayers in all 50 states. That means that when Romney financed half of RomneyCare’s new spending by pulling down more federal Medicaid dollars, he increased taxes on residents of all 50 states.
It was certainly clever of Romney to structure his plan so as to rely so heavily on Medicaid financing, but it doesn’t change the basic fact that when you start giving health insurance coverage to the previously uninsured there is a tab to be paid.
Earlier this week, Igor Volsky reminded us of Mitt Romney’s description of the individual mandate in Massachusetts given in a March 2010 interview with Fox News: “If they don’t buy insurance, they’ll find that their taxes are higher.”