Monday, October 15, 2012

Will Romney Cut Funds for Autism Program He Supported in Massachusetts?

As explained in this article, "Would President Romney Cut Medicaid Funds for Program Governor Romeny Asked For?," in 2008 "Governor Romney signed a law directing the state to ask the federal government for more Medicaid money for home and community support services for autistic children who, without that support, would be classified as at risk of being placed in an institution....Today the program is helping 160 children and their families get services at home."

In three years, the state will need to ask the federal government to renew those funds. What would a President Romney do with that request? As President Clinton warned in his Democratic Convention speech, "They also want to block-grant Medicaid, and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years. And a lot of that [Medicaid] money is…spent to help people with disabilities, including a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. And honestly, let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do."

The Republicans went after Senator Kerrey as a flip-flopper in 2004, and I realized at the time that any elected official with a record could be charged with the same thing. In that election, it seemed to stick, and it leaves me wondering why Romney's not being pinned with the same label.

As Governor, Romney passed one of the most progressive health care reform laws in the nation, which has increased the number of residents covered by health insurance from 90 percent to 98 percent. The program ended discrimination by insurance companies, mandated coverage, and provided government subsidies to make the mandate feasible. The program closely resembled President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

And that's what's so interesting. Romneycare was a model for Obamacare. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber advised both Romney and Obama on their plans. And now Romney's number 1 issue is repealing the Affordable Care Act, which he says he'll do on his first day in office.

With that in mind, it's hard to know who the real Romney is, and what he's likely to do as president. He hasn't laid out clear plans, so you have to read between the lines of his speeches, look at his running mate's record and plans, and look at his record as governor. And even then, you just don't know.
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