Former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney unveiled a six-point plan that aims to reform the current healthcare sector by using federal incentives to boost competition and expand the private health insurance markets on a state-by-state basis.
In a speech made to the Florida Medical Association, Romney said he intends to change the federal tax code to make it cheaper for individuals to buy private insurance. Those same tax reforms would also be used to promote smart spending on healthcare, create incentives for states to reform their health insurance markets and support broader medical liability reforms, according to a statement released by the Romney campaign.
Aides to Romney told the New York Times that the candidates plan would funnel federal dollars now being used to help states cover the cost of uncompensated medical care into programs to help low-income individuals not eligible for federal aid buy their own insurance.
Romneys proposal would also use health information technology as a driver behind boosting healthcare quality, establishing cost and quality transparency programs and encouraging more consumer-directed health plans, such as health savings accounts and co-insurance products.
As governor, Romney spearheaded a high-profile overhaul of the states healthcare system, implementing a mandate that requires virtually every Bay Stater to have health insurance.
But critics of Romneys national plan say its a far cry from the policies he implemented as governor. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, a Democratic presidential hopeful, charged that Romneys plan would be a boon to the healthy and wealthynot for the poor or uninsured. (His) cure is worse than the disease, Edwards charged in a written statement. Not surprisingly, hes unwilling to take on the big insurance and drug companies. As a result, it will make a dysfunctional healthcare system even worse. -- by Matthew DoBias and Jennifer Lubell
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