Here’s Romney’s healthcare initiative in a nutshell:
1. The first thing to understand is that the U.S. already provides universal healthcare, so don’t get bogged down saying “But that’s Hillary Clinton’s plan! We don’t want universal healthcare!” Tough, you’ve already got it. If you’re uninsured and you break your arm and go to the hospital, they’ll fix your arm. If you get cancer, they’ll take care of you, and although they may try to charge you for it, you can get away with paying nothing, and many people do.
2. All these people who get healthcare and don’t pay a dime drives up the cost for everyone else who is subsidizing them.
3. If you require that everyone have health insurance then you get a lot of people on insurance who weren’t before, and that causes the price of healthcare to drop since the cost of the services is being spread out across more of the people using those services.
Concerns people have is that this will cost businesses and government a fortune, but not so. It actually cuts what the government has to pay. The projection in MA is that it will cut state-funded subsidy costs by 1/3, if I remember correctly. Businesses save money because their premiums go down, although businesses with over 10 employees who didn’t provide insurance previously will now have to provide health benefits.
People who didn’t have coverage previously will also have to buy insurance, but if they cannot afford it they will receive state assistance, so nobody should be left out in the cold. The plan can only result in more people insured than previously, not less.
In the long-term, health care costs and premiums might go down even more, since insured people are more likely to get preventative care rather than waiting until they have to go to the emergency room, which is the most expensive way to get your care.
I’ve been actively opposed to government sponsored healthcare for 15+ years, but the turning point for me was when I understood that we’re already there, and we’re not getting out of it. This is a way that we can cut costs and make sure that people aren’t getting a free ride, that they take responsibility for their health, but that everyone who needs care can get it. It is the only viable, realistic means of cutting healthcare costs in the U.S. that I can see.
If you want more info but don’t feel like reading the actual bill that was passed, here’s an informative video of Romney talking with Neil Cavuto about it.