Tevi Troy: Romney has best plan for replacing a bad health care law

Published: Sunday, Nov. 6 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Defending the American Dream Summit, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Washington. (Associated Press) Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Defending the American Dream Summit, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Washington. (Associated Press)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Republicans should support Mitt Romney for president because he has the clearest plan for undoing the health-care plan that President Barack Obama has imposed on this country.

The Affordable Care Act is costly, intrusive and possibly unconstitutional. Despite a multitude of promises, Obama's new law will not allow people to keep their current plan, will not reduce premiums and will not "bend the cost curve down." It also will hike taxes, reduce consumer choice and discourage health innovation.

As president, Romney will sign an executive order on the first day of his administration offering waivers to allow states to opt out of the law. The order is needed because the law forces states to create health exchanges according to the strictures created by bureaucrats in Washington.

As Romney wrote in National Review Online, the order directs "the secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them."

The executive order is an important step, but Romney knows it is not enough. Recognizing that the only way to eliminate the health law is through legislation, he will follow up with a legislative proposal to repeal the law, using the reconciliation strategy to get such a bill though the U.S. Senate.

This one-two punch will give governors and state legislators flexibility in the short term, while focusing on the longer term goal of wiping the law off the books entirely.

Republican candidates agree that repealing the law is necessary, but Romney recognizes that repeal is not enough.

This current situation is unsustainable, and Romney is determined to make fixing our health system a top priority. He plans to strengthen our system through five key reform tenets:

Restoring state leadership.

Empowering individual ownership.

Focusing regulation on making markets work.

Reforming medical liability.

Introducing market forces into the system.

These tenets, especially the emphasis on markets, flexibility and liability reform, highlight the contrasts with President Obama's approach, which has expanded government control and protected the interests of lawyers.

This is a crucial point: Medical liability reform alone will save our system $50 billion over a decade, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and Romney is determined to make it happen.

Romney's approach — not only repealing the law but also replacing it — focuses on flexibility. Romney recognizes that states are laboratories of democracy, and that the federal government cannot impose its health-care will on all 50 states.

He knows from experience that what works in Massachusetts may not work in every one of the other 49 states. From Florida and Oregon to California and New Hampshire, our states need to have the flexibility to select their own approaches and work together for reform.

Romney understands that we must have a plan to end this destructive experiment, and then get on to the business of bringing real reform to our costly and inefficient health-care system.

Tevi Troy, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is an adjunct professor at Indiana University's School of Public & Environmental Affairs and a special adviser for policy to the Mitt Romney campaign.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company