Perry blasted Romneycare in his latest book 

Tim Pawlenty’s bungled attack on the Massachusetts health care plan signed by rival Mitt Romney has created a wider opening for Texas Gov. Rick Perry to enter the race. Based on what he’s already written about the law, it seems that Perry would be more than willing to unleash a furious assault on Romneycare if he were to run.

On several occasions in his book "Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America," Perry takes aim at the Massachusetts health care law. While he doesn’t mention Romney by name, Perry’s mode of criticism of the law cuts at Romney’s central defense of it.

Like Romney, Perry acknowledges that the Massachusetts law was consistent with the principles of federalism and the idea of states as laboratories of democracy. But Perry blasts the Massachusetts plan as “state-run health care” that has resulted in rationing and expanded wait times in the state.

Romneycare comes up several times in the book, which was released last November, as Perry demonstrates the virtues of federalism by contrasting Texas and Massachusetts.

“I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas,” he writes, “We just don’t agree on a number of things. They passed state-run health care…”

By contrast, he notes, Texans “let our citizens chose their own health care plan…”

At another point in the book, he described how the passage of tort reform in Texas increased the number of doctors in the state.

“On the other side of the coin,” he then writes, “Massachusetts is free to experiment with state-run health care. If federalism is respected, the people of Massachusetts are free to try it while the rest of the nation sits back and watches to see if they have any success, and whether any success they do have is worth the price of losing liberty to get it. Now, we in Texas are not too excited about the prospect of government-run anything, much less health care, and the federal health care legislation – known to most as Obamacare – is a direct assault on the principle of federalism.”

Later in the book, Perry writes:

Massachusetts provides a great example of laboratories of democracy in action. Massachusetts enacted universal health care on a statewide basis in 2006, including an individual mandate and an expansion of the Medicaid rolls. Since then, the waiting times to see a doctor in Massachusetts have nearly doubled, and the costs are so out of control that a special commission has already recommended that the state insurance plans “limit coverage to services that produce the highest value when considering both clinical effectiveness and cost” – that is, rationing care based on the government’s perceived cost-benefit calculation.”

Should he get into the race, Romney will be hard-pressed to counter such attacks, especially because most of his defenders will be liberal health care policy analysts.

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Philip Klein

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