Yesterday's story of the endorsement by 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney of gubernatorial contender Bob Beauprez, resulting at least partly from Beauprez's support for Romney on the presidential campaign trail in 2008 and 2012, got us thinking: what has Beauprez said about the central component of both Romney's and President Barack Obama's health care reform plans–the individual mandate that everyone obtain health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty?
Back in 2007, Beauprez's endorsement of Romney, as reported by the Denver Post, specifically noted what became known in the 2012 presidential election as RomneyCare.
Mitt Romney believes strongly in the core principles of free enterprise, fair and free trade, accountability in education, personal responsibility, tolerance, strong families, and a national defense second to none. More than that, however, we are amazed at what he accomplished during his term as Governor of Massachusetts – strengthening education, laying the foundation for private, market-based health insurance for all… [Pols emphasis]
For a number of years between his failed 2006 run for governor and today, Beauprez operated a blog called A Line of Sight, which over time became a hefty archive of Beauprez's prolific writing on all manner of issues, along with syndicated content from various other conservatives. Sometime after Beauprez's run for Governor began, A Line of Sight mysteriously went offline, but the contents of the site are still available via web caching services. And sure enough, in October of 2007, months after endorsing Romney, Beauprez wrote a post on A Line of Sight titled "Health Care Reform-The Battle is Joined."
In this astonishing now-deleted post, Beauprez endorses in considerable detail the individual mandate to obtain health insurance, arguing the point as well as Obama or anyone else could:
Required Coverage: I reluctantly come to the conclusion that just as motorists are required to have auto insurance, and lenders require homeowners insurance, citizens should have to have health insurance. [Pols emphasis] Of the 15-17% of the population that is uninsured, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 56% are 18-34 year old young adults. It is impossible to know for certain, but many of these are no doubt uninsured by choice. Believing they are either permanently healthy, bullet proof, or both, they choose to spend their money on other things than health insurance. If they do get really sick or injured they know that they can go to any emergency room and get treatment whether they can pay or not because of federal law known as Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Some are certainly uninsured because they cannot afford the cost of insurance, but most could afford at least a portion of a monthly premium.
The reality is that when someone doesn't have insurance the cost of their health care is shifted to those that do in higher premiums, and to taxpayers who fund government programs. Cost shifting from the growing number of uninsured to the insured is a huge reality. The biggest challenge hospitals face is to adjust prices to insurance companies for paying customers to cover losses for services to non-paying uninsured patients they are required by law to treat. That invariably is reflected in higher insurance premiums.
What would King Soopers do if every sixth customer walked out without paying for a shopping cart full of groceries? Prices would go up to the paying customers because they have to cover their margins somehow. [Pols emphasis]
Several states have taken on this challenge, so there is an accumulating base of experience to analyze. Massachusetts under Gov. Romney enacted a must-have law regarding healthcare. Romney stated recently at the University of Denver that about half of the uninsured have already enrolled. Those that haven't by the time they file their next tax return will be penalized for failing to comply, and he expects that will motivate most to sign up. It's far less expensive to enroll than to pay the penalty. For low income residents there is a sliding scale of premium support from the state to subsidize their insurance.
Common-sense says having insurance is better than none. Insured are far more likely to avail themselves of preventative care, get treatment earlier, and avoid serious acuity and expense. Benefits for pre-natal care and families with children are especially dramatic.
The libertarian side of me doesn't like to encroach on personal freedom, but in a civil society rules are imposed so as to prevent one person from damaging the rights or property of another. Without health insurance, the burden of cost is shifted to someone else to pick up, the market place is distorted, and public health is also put at risk from untreated communicable diseases. Every citizen has an obligation to be responsible, and in 21st century America that includes providing for their own health insurance coverage. [Pols emphasis]
No Obamacare backer could say it better! It's pretty easy to see why Beauprez took A Line of Sight down after jumping into the 2014 GOP gubernatorial race–if this post alone were to become common knowledge among Republican primary voters, it could well sink him right there. And if GOP primary voters don't hear about this in time, nominee Beauprez would have to explain it to the voters statewide. Remember how well that worked out for "Multiple Choice Mitt" Romney in 2012? We can't see it going any better for "Both Ways Bob" Beauprez.
We'll say it again and again: being trusted by no one is worse than being disagreed with. It's a lesson we would think that Beauprez, of all people, would have learned after his historic bludgeoning at the polls in 2006–the year he so amply earned his nickname. Failing that, you'd think Beauprez's party would have learned it.
Perhaps not, folks.