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Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance
Mitt Romney says if elected, he will take steps to make insurance less expensive and give Americans more buying power.
August 31st, 2012
10:13 AM ET

Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

This week during the Republican convention the Empowered Patient has been putting Mitt Romney’s health care plan under the microscope, examining what it means to various groups of American patients.

Earlier this week we looked at Romney's ideas on preventive care, helping people with pre-existing conditions get insurance, and aiding seniors who get stuck in the prescription drug donut hole. We also did a fact-check on Paul Ryan's Medicare comments in his convention speech.

Now, we're looking at Romney's plans for helping middle class Americans buy health insurance. According to a 2009 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 million uninsured Americans came from the middle class, or nearly a quarter of the nation's total uninsured.

Most middle-class Americans - nearly three out of four - are insured through their employers, according to the report. For the one out of four who are not, it's become more and more expensive to buy health insurance on their own. Between 2000 and 2008, health insurance premiums grew three times as fast as wage increases.

Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare, which, starting in 2014, gives middle class Americans subsidies to help them purchase a policy. For example, a 40-year-old with a family of four making $50,000 would receive a tax credit of about $8,745 towards a policy costing $12,130, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator.

Romney says he will take steps to make insurance less expensive and give Americans more buying power.

"Mitt Romney will institute reforms that control the cost of health care, so that all Americans will be able to afford the coverage they need," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told CNN in an e-mail.

One reform would be to allow people to buy insurance in other states.

"I want these individuals and businesses to be able to buy insurance across state lines to get the best deal they can get anywhere in the country," Romney said in a speech in June in Florida.

Romney's website outlines other reforms: Allowing individuals and businesses to buy insurance as a group to get more bargaining power, for example, and allowing money in health savings accounts to be used towards purchasing premiums.

In 2006, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed into law a health care plan that, like Obamacare, provides subsidies for purchasing health care. While running for president, Romney has said each state should be allowed to choose a plan that's right for them.

"We gave people a premium support program," he said in a speech at the University of Michigan in May. "[States] will have flexibility to deal with the uninsured in the way they think best... There will be different alternatives chosen."

Video: Romney and overturning Obamacare


soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Timmy Suckle

    I kissed my way up to VP at a health insurance company. Now I take over $500,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easy to be fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $106,800 level. Now I only pay 1.3% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • get it right

      SS tax of 6.2% is paid by the employer not employee......employee are paying 4.2% currently

      September 22, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • Timmy Suckle's boss

      YOU'RE FIRED!!!!!

      September 26, 2012 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Toecutter

    Cool story bro.

    August 31, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Uproot Studio

    Insurance is so confusing

    September 1, 2012 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. plenty

    Romney's plan for middle-class health insurance DIE.......

    September 4, 2012 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mary Lowenberg

    Everyone keeps insisting that your child can NOW have medical insurance coverage until the age 26. THIS IS NOT NEW. 10 years ago my children were covered until age 26 under COBRA, ashame on all reporters for not knowing this.

    September 9, 2012 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. relawson

    "THIS IS NOT NEW. 10 years ago my children were covered until age 26 under COBRA, ashame on all reporters for not knowing this."

    Umm, I think you left out one key piece of information regarding COBRA: It's insanely expensive!!!

    September 10, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 11, 2012 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. soulcatcher

    ... in other words he'd do nothing different than Obama except to take credit?

    September 13, 2012 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RTKMD

    "[Romney:] One reform would be to allow people to buy insurance in other states." Fine, but would he then accept the obvious obligation of the Federal government to then regulate that insurance?
    "Romney's website outlines other reforms: Allowing individuals and businesses to buy insurance as a group to get more bargaining power." Strange. I'm not aware that this has been disallowed in the past.

    September 15, 2012 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sejrn

    There's a new book out written by Leigh Abilland that describes what life is really like for ER nurses day in and day out and how politics affect a lot of things. It's called "Yes, I Know You're Dying." I would highly recommend it!

    September 16, 2012 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.