Afternoon keynote: Sen. Romney discusses the future of federal health policy

We were honored to host US Senator Mitt Romney as part of our afternoon keynote at the 2020 Utah State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference on Tuesday. During a one-on-one conversation with host DJ Wilson, Romney discussed what it’s like to be a member of Congress in 2020, his top concerns for the country, and his views on the future of federal health policy.

 

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Romney led off the conversation with comments on his experience serving as a senator in the current political climate. He says his colleagues get along on a personal level, but “our views on policy are diametrically opposed.” He says the political parties’ shifts to the far right and far left make it difficult to work collaboratively.

“You’re seeing Washington become more polarized from a policy standpoint,” said Romney. “And that makes it very difficult to basically enact any legislation because if one extreme wing or the other opposes, that will lock in concrete any progress that might otherwise be made.

When asked about the future of health policy at the federal level, Romney says he anticipates a “significant readjustment” following the presidential election in November.

If President Trump wins re-election, which Romney predicts will happen, he doesn’t anticipate seeing dramatic changes in the health care system. He says people can expect more of the same, but with adjustments on a piecemeal basis.

“I don’t think Obamacare itself would be eliminated. I don’t think people would lose their coverage. I don’t think preexisting conditions would be removed from insurability,” said Romney.

If Vice President Biden were to win the election and if Democrats took control of the Senate, Romney predicts more significant changes related to health care such as the creation of a public option. However, he doesn’t expect to see the ACA eliminated or the implementation of a Medicare for All system.

Regardless, Romney pointed to two health policy issues that are being worked on in a bipartisan fashion – surprising billing and prescription drug pricing. Romney says he anticipates progress in these two areas following the election, if not before.

During his comments, Sen. Romney also outlined three major national issues that concern him. The first is the emergence of China as a superpower that is looking to be the world’s leading power; his second concern is the rising national debt; and his third concern is climate change.

“These are three big issues that we’re going to have to face. And I hope that we’re going to have the kind of leadership in homes, in churches, in schools, in businesses, and even in Washington that can finally address some of these big challenges as opposed to just dividing America on issues that are wedge issues, emotional issues, but frankly detract from some of the things we really need to make front and center,” said Romney.

Sen. Romney’s full comments are available in the video above.