I've spent much of today going through the lies Mitt Romney told during the Presidential debate last night. And I've discovered that they were so egregious that it's going to take a few days for the media to go through and dispel all of them.
Anyhow, there was one that stood out that Americans really should pay attention to. Romney amazingly continued his attacks on 'Obamacare' during the debate, distorting Obama's plan and using the 'Death Panel' meme started by Sarah Palin back in 2008. Given Romney passed an almost identical plan when he was governor of Massachusetts, the line of attack is a hail Mary that has backfired for much of the campaign so far. But the biggest lie Romney told was the one about his own plan for the nation - and it is a serious one.
Romney told the audience that "Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan". This is flat out untrue - a fact even Romney's top adviser conceded after the debate. Reported Brian Beutler at TPM:
“With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, referring to existing laws which require insurance companies to sell coverage to people who already have insurance, or within 90 days of losing their employer coverage.
Pressed by TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.
“We’d like to see states do what Massachusetts did,” Fehrnstrom said. “In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions.”
So rather than actually cover people with pre-existing conditions, Romney would like states to cover people with pre-existing conditions - a difference so extreme it is mind blowing he had the temerity to say it on live television.
Romney's health care plan supposedly has a method of encouraging states to cover pre-existing conditions, and as usual, the Romney camp has been extremely vague on details. Romney has spent a huge amount of time promising to repeal Obamacare, but has yet to articulate a plan for the nation that would, as he stated during the debate, cover everyone with pre=existing conditions. Why? Because he doen't actually have one.
This is the trick Republicans play when running for office - they say "Sure, we want all the same outcomes as Democrats - universal health care, great schools, a clean environment, no corruption on Wall St etc etc. We just believe the free market and states should come up with ways of doing it". The result? Just look at George Bush's record on all of the issues above.
Romney was excellent last night in pretending he cared about issues important to Americans - he genuinely came across as passionate about healthcare, job creation and teachers. But if you look at his proposals to deal with them, his words don't amount to anything. He can care about covering Americans with pre-exsiting conditions, but if he doesn't have any specific policies that actually covers them, it's completely meaningless.