As this is written, conventional wisdom says Mitt Romney will emerge as New Hampshire's choice. Attention shifts to see who will come in next and how close to Romney they will arrive. And due to that shift, few if any have noticed that Mitt has done it again, put his foot in mouth twice now in 24 hours.
Sure we all know that his phrase "I like to fire people" referred to his concept of a free market in health care insurance. We know he has expertise there, having crafted the forerunner of Obamacare, Romneycare in Massachusetts. Now he desperately attempts to distance himself from that. And we know that before Romneycare, Republicans proposed the same idea, a government mandated alternative that all must carry health care insurance to what we now call Hillarycare, single payer. And Obama's commitment to health care reform won him Teddy Kennedy's support instead of it going to Hillary Clinton. But!
If the Republicans are successful in replacing Barack Obama and repealing or cutting out from under its roots the mandate for universal subscription to health care coverage by private insurance companies, that second foot in mouth phrase would become meaningless. Romney explains that health care insurance companies have an incentive to keep us healthy and thereby lower their costs. And if we do not like their service, we can individually fire them. Yes Mitt, right you are, but only if we do not have the choice after firing them to do nothing at all. For only if we must have coverage, must we choose another health care insurance company. And absent the taboo on coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, when we become too expensive, the companies will raise rates or just drop us. Then in all practicality, our freedom to choose evaporates together with the incentive health care insurers have to keep us healthy. Only under Romneycare/Obamacare do we have both a right to fire an insurance company and do they have incentive to court our business. And that right underpins a free market system giving us all cause to become a healthier society.
We all need to eat, so we all experience a right to choose our grocery store. And all grocery stores have a right to locate in our neighborhood and there compete for our business. So on behalf of more and more of us who are coming to see the light, from the very bottoms of our hearts, thank you Mitt for stepping in it twice! Romneycare is Obamacare and both have great merit!