Monday, September 17, 2012

Today's Lengthy Lunchtime Read: Esquire's "Life Under Romneycare"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

For those unfortunate souls (like me) who have not yet received their Esquire subscriptions this month, we've missed out on quite a bit already — for one, Chris Jones's spectacular piece on Teller, of magic duo Penn & Teller and his quest to protect his greatest trick; for another, a cover feature on lauded actor/chair whisperer Clint Eastwood.

But to sate your appetite for the best in political columns (Men's Glossy Fashion Magazine category), I present Charles P. Pierce's lamentation on Mitt Romney's distancing from legislation that he practically championed years ago.

From "Life Under Romneycare":

He was not always unemployed. Once, for four years, he worked in this office, and that's why his picture is hanging where it is. In his portrait, he is handsome and chiseled and impeccable in all things. His hair is perfect. He is sitting on the corner of his desk, one foot on the floor, at once casual and in command. On the desk is a small framed portrait of his wife. Right next to it there is a blue binder, and his hand is resting near it, as though, through the artist, the unemployed man in the picture wanted your attention drawn to it because it is the most important thing in the picture besides the man himself. On the cover of the blue binder is a caduceus, the acknowledged symbol of the medical arts. That is where his hand is, so you don't miss the point.

The unemployed man is running for president this year. He is extraordinarily wealthy, but for a moment, let's pretend he's not. His wife has multiple sclerosis. He has grandchildren who were conceived and born through the technique of in vitro fertilization. All of this, the treatments and therapies for his wife, the technology that was required to give him his grandchildren, is extraordinarily expensive. If he were not extraordinarily wealthy — if he were, say, someone like me — and if he lived in two of the three states in which he has claimed residence, or owns a home, he would have a great deal of trouble getting health insurance for his wife. In only one of those places would that task have been made easier. That place is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The reason for that is the blue binder that rests near his hand in the portrait that hangs on the wall. On April 12, 2006, in the sight of God and of Ted Kennedy, and of a guy from the conservative Heritage Foundation who'd been instrumental in guiding him to this moment on the stage in Faneuil Hall, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts signed into law Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006: an Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care. That was too hard for people to remember, so they fastened upon a nickname for it. They called it Romneycare.

For the rest, check out Esquire.

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