Mitt Romney loves Israel's universal healthcare

Mitt Romney loves Israel’s universal healthcare

Jul 31, 2012

Yes we all know Mitt Romney’s foreign trip has been a disaster. We all know he came across like George W. Bush mixed with Patrick Bateman with a little racism mixed in for good measure. And we know he turned off most of Europe in a big way—German chancellor Angela Merkel couldn’t find time to meet with him and German papers proclaimed “Romney has already been disqualified” after his Olympic gaffes and Merkel’s cold shoulder.

But along with the racist claim that Israelis are better off economically because they are culturally superior to Palestinians, Romney managed to work a curious policy position into his speech in Israel on Sunday: He praised Israel’s universal healthcare system.

From Romney’s speech:

Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent,” he said. “You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of G.D.P. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”

Pretty weird, right, considering Israel’s universal healthcare system includes the “individual mandate” that Mitt’s been denouncing as pure big government communism?

Think Progress notes “Israel spends less on health care because of a universal health system that requires everyone to have insurance. Every Israeli citizen has the obligation to purchase health care services through one of the country’s four HMOs. …People pay for 40 percent of their HMO’s costs through income-related contributions collected through the tax system, and the state pays the remaining 60 percent.”

Israel’s healthcare system is way more state-run than the proposed Obamacare. And Romney loves it.

Why does he love it? Because it works.

Disagreeing with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu over Israel raising taxes to lower its deficit, he ceded, “I come to learn of your perspectives and your ideas for grasping the challenges facing the region and the challenges facing the world.”

Some Israelis would agree. Orly Manor of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Braun School of Public Health, said the U.S. could “learn a lot from the Israeli [healthcare] system.”

It seems the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office would agree—late last week they announced that enacting Obamacare will lower, not raise the national deficit. That is, it will not only “provide health care to more people, but fund and manage our health care costs,” just like Romney told his supporters we must do on Monday.

All of which is probably why Romney created the blueprint for Obamacare while he was governor in Massachusetts. Romney is right in praising this system, because it works. But if he thinks the world wasn’t watching while he made this speech on Sunday, that America wouldn’t notice him being hypocritical, he’s dead wrong.

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