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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The politics of health care

Far be it from me to pretend that politics doesn't swirl around the topic of health care. The battle royals at the state and federal level -- the heavy lobbying by the pharmaceutical companies and the AMA's old line about Medicare being "socialized medicine" -- clearly show it's a minefield.

And let's not forgot all the arguments about a woman's right to choose, second hand smoke and alcohol. So why am I so annoyed by Mitt Romney's latest foray into making state policy conform with his presidential platform?

Perhaps it is because public health policy is the only area of state government where the (former) governor has shown any interest? Or his intrusion is so heavy handed, as this memo obtained by the Globe shows:
"If any of you are scheduled to speak at a meeting or conference of ANY type about ANYTHING that media MAY be present at you must send a copy of your comments or an outline of your presentation or your slides IN ADVANCE. To make this more complicated, even if you are NOT a listed speaker, but are going to attend a meeting that MAY have media present and MAY either be called upon or offer a comment or ask a question, you must notify Lewis in advance."
And maybe because some of the intrusions smack of bad public health policy -- like the decision to give a woman the right to choose to breast feed her child The foray into breast feeding policy was clearly an effort to suck up to the teat of formula makers like Nestle.

Not so says gubernatorial mouthpiece Eric Fehrnstrom. It's about competing political agendas.
"The liberal agenda of a narrow special interest group that wants to punish women who want to bottle feed, or the agenda of a governor who thinks women shouldn't be punished for bottle-feeding."
I see. So Romney is for a woman's right to choose? Or isn't he?

Then there is his blatant contradiction of legislative intent over stem cell research, insisting only he knows what those shifty scientists will do in the privacy of their labs. And unlike his hero George Bush -- he of the massive reading list-- Mittsy can't even keep his books straight, calling the activities Orwellian, not Huxleyian. On second thought, Orwell warned about government intruding into the most intimate matters of a person's life.

Please go away Mitt. There's a tunnel that'll take you directly to the airport.


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