Mike Leavitt and Mitt Romney
Washington Post report Ed O'Keefe, writing an online column about Congress entitled '2chambers', noted that former Utah Governor and HHS Secretary (Bush administration) Mike Leavitt recently spent some time with conservative members of the US House talking health system reform (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/mitt-romney-adviser-m...). Excerpt:
A campaign adviser to Mitt Romney who supports elements of the 2010 health-care reform law huddled Monday with conservative Republican lawmakers to discuss health care just days before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the reforms.
Michael O. Leavitt met late Monday afternoon at the Republican National Committee headquarters with about 20 members of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative lawmakers firmly opposed to the health-care law that ardently supports repealing it regardless of what the high court decides.
Leavitt is an unpaid adviser to the Romney campaign who was tapped this month to lead a presidential transition if the Republican presidential candidate wins in November. Leavitt served as secretary of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration and was Utah’s governor when Romney was chosen to revamp the organizing of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. The pair grew close during Romney’s stewardship of the games.
Despite Romney’s stated opposition to the health-care reform law, Leavitt has said he supports the law’s mandate that state governments establish insurance exchanges by 2014. The exchanges — or marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can compare and buy insurance — are a major point of contention for the law’s Republican opponents. Since leaving government, Leavitt established a health consulting firm, Leavitt Partners, that has more than doubled in size since President Obama signed the law as it advises some state governments on how to implement the law, according to news reports.
If Mitt Romney is elected, it seems likely that health insurance exchanges will continue to find favor with the federal government. Mr. Romney signed legislation in Massachusetts as governor which created the first such exchange. And Mike Leavitt is making money running a consulting firm which helps other states follow suit, after helping his home state of Utah get its exchange off the ground while he was in Washington DC as a member of the George W. Bush cabinet. Neither the Massachusetts nor the Utah health insurance exchange can point to any success in reducing health care costs. Health insurance exchanges are not health system reform. So why do both candidates for president, democrat and republican, seem to favor this concept?
Dr. Joe Jarvis