Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mitt Romney for HHS?

Ambinder floats it:

What Romney, in a bipartisan fashion, was able to do in Massachusetts -- even with caveats -- is pretty much the same as what Obama wants to do on a national level....

What does Romney get out of it? Assuming that Obama's ship is merely listing now and that the economy has recovered perceptablly, 2012 is not going to be an attractive cycle year for a Republican to run for president. If managerial chops are what's needed, then Romney's resume cuts in... something that, again, the GOP didn't seem to much appreciate in 2008. Like Hillary Clinton, Romney might be willing to trade his political ambition for the chance to do something awesome for the country.

What Romney did in a bipartisan fashion was put together an "embarrassing flop", according to the Washington Examiner (ea).

Just a year after the universal coverage law passed, The New York Times reported, state insurers were already jacking up rates to twice the national average.... Small businesses with more than 10 employees were required to provide health insurance or pay an extra fee to subsidize uninsured low-income residents, yet the overall costs of the program increased more than $400 million — 85 percent higher than original projections. To make up the difference, payments to health care providers were slashed, so many doctors and dentists in Massachusetts began refusing to take on new patients. In the state with the highest physician/patient ratio in the nation, some people now have to wait more than a year for a simple physical exam.

UPDATE!: Hat-tipping Glen Warchol on the links.


[Mitt Romney] has shown that, on this issue, he can work pragmatically across party lines.... partnered with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate health committee, on a plan. In fact, he's the only person in America who has ever put together and passed a universal health care program.

New Republic:

I like what he did with health care in Massachusetts and have huge respect for his management skills. But I don't see that one happening. Even if he wasn't fixated on capturing the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, he's said too many unambiguously harsh things--about the auto bailout, about the stimulus, and about Democrats in general--to serve credibly in this administration.

Also don't forget that HHS's jursidction frequently intersects areas like abortion and contraception. Putting an opponent of abortion rights in that post seems unthinkable.