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Mitt Romney's Health Care Plan: The Foundation Of Obama's Plan

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Plan Is nearly IDENTICAL To Federal Health Care Reform

Conservative Sources

Club For Growth: Romney’s Health Care Plan And “ObamaCare” Are Similar In Three Significant Ways: Mandate, Health Exchanges And Low-Income Subsidies. According to the Club for Growth, Romney’s health care plan and Obama’s health care law “are similar in at least three significant ways.” Club for Growth wrote, “Both have an individual mandate that requires people to purchase a private good – in this case, health insurance – and levies a financial penalty against those who don’t. Both implement a new government bureaucracy called an “exchange” through which all insurance policies are approved, sold, and heavily regulated. Both have sizeable subsidies for low-income people to purchase the mandated coverage.” [Club for Growth, 2012 Presidential White Paper #5, 6/7/11 ]

National Review Editorial: Romney’s Signature Health Care Legislation Looks Like A Pilot Program For Obamacare. In an editorial for the National Review, contributor Mark Steyn wrote, “Unfortunately for [Romney], his signature legislation in Massachusetts looks awfully like a pilot program for Obamacare. So in recent days, he’s been out yet again defending his record: If I understand him correctly, his argument is that the salient point about Romneycare and Obamacare is not that they’re both disasters, but that one’s local and the other’s national, and that Obama has a one-disaster-fits-all approach to health care whereas Romney believes in letting a thousand disasters bloom. Celebrate diversity!” [National Review, 5/14/11 ]

National Review: The Parallels Between National Health Care Reform And Romney’s 2006 Massachusetts Reform Plan Are “Striking.” According to the National Review, “Romney’s problem is that, despite his demurrals, the parallels between Obamacare and his 2006 Massachusetts reform plan are striking. Both plans are built around an individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase a government-designed insurance plan. Both plans dramatically increase government subsidies and Medicaid eligibility. Both plans use an exchange to redesign the individual and small-group insurance markets, creating a “managed competition” model for insurance. And both Massachusetts and Obamacare prohibit insurers from managing risk, shifting costs from older and sicker individuals to the young and healthy. Neither Obamacare nor Romneycare includes any substantial cost-containment mechanism.” [National Review, 12/1/10]

Wall Street Journal Editorial: Romney “Signed A Prototype Of ObamaCare Into Law In Massachusetts.” In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Mitt Romney also gave Democrats renewed political confidence when he signed a prototype of ObamaCare into law in Massachusetts, though he now claims that these fraternal policy twins aren’t related.” [Editorial, WSJ, 3/23/10]

CATO Vice President: “Romneycare Did Model A Lot Of The Ideas That Ended Up Being The Framework For Obama’s Plan.” According to the National Journal, “‘As Pres. Obama himself has pointed out, Romney is the guy who created the prototype for Obamacare,’ said Cato executive VP David Boaz. ‘How can he lead the charge against a health care plan that is modeled on his own?’… ‘A lot of times, Obama exaggerates this bipartisan idea, but in this particular case, Obama’s got a point,’ Cato’s Boaz says in the video. ‘RomneyCare did model a lot of the ideas that ended up being the framework for Obama’s plan, and that’s the connection Romney doesn’t want people to see.’” [National Journal, 4/16/10]

CATO’s Michael Cannon: Massachusetts And Federal Health Care Plans Are “Identical.” According to the National Journal, “‘When you run down this list of elements in the Obama plan and the Romney plan, they are all identical,’ says Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute’s director of Health Policy Studies, in a new video running on the group’s website. ‘Both the Romney plan and the Obama plan are essentially a government takeover of the health care sector of the economy.’” [National Journal, 4/16/10]

Non-Partisan Sources

Time: The “Massachusetts Plan Is Structurally The Same As The Federal Plan – The Federal Plan Was, In Fact, Modeled On The Massachusetts Plan.” According to Time, “For starters, the Massachusetts plan is structurally the same as the federal plan – the federal plan was, in fact, modeled on the Massachusetts plan. Anyone who says this isn’t true is not being honest. Without wading too far into the policy details, let’s just say that federal health reform is a stool with three legs: subsidies, an individual mandate and an insurance exchange. The Massachusetts stool has the same legs. Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped design the Massachusetts plan with Romney and who has worked as a consultant for Congress and the White House, said this week that the former governor ‘is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform.’ That wasn’t a dig – it’s true.” [Time, 3/31/10]

Union Leader Editorial: “Both Romneycare and Obamacare Force Individuals To Buy Health Insurance.” The Union Leader published an editorial critical of Romney on healthcare, saying “Both Romneycare and Obamacare force individuals to buy health insurance. Romney says Obamacare is bad because the U.S. Constitution does not give Washington the authority to make such a mandate…States, though, have no such restriction, he says. Romney’s justification for a state individual mandate is the same as Obama’s justification of a federal one: It eliminates the ‘free-rider’ problem. Uninsured people pass their costs on to the taxpayers when they get health care and cannot pay for it themselves. Romney and Obama both agree that the solution is to make everyone carry insurance. Obama thinks Washington should do that, and Romney thinks states may, and in some cases should…” [The Union Leader, 5/15/11 ]

New York Times: Obama Health Care Plan “Resembles The Plan Enacted In Massachusetts By Gov. Mitt Romney.” According to the New York Times, “In a third interview, in January 2009, President-elect Obama welcomed bipartisan cooperation and said, ‘Republicans have a lot to offer’ on economic policy. Today, Mr. Obama has reason to assert that his agenda has in fact incorporated Republican approaches, even as he has failed to attract Republican political support. His health care plan, fighting for survival on Capitol Hill, is grounded in a requirement that individuals buy insurance coverage, creation of an ‘exchange’ marketplace in which policies are sold and subsidies for those who cannot afford them. That resembles the plan enacted in Massachusetts by Gov. Mitt Romney, a possible Republican presidential contender in 2012.” [New York Times, 2/15/10]

Romney

Romney Admitted “A Number Of Similarities” Between Massachusetts Health Care Reform And Obama’s Plan. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “But at Emory, Romney — perhaps having no other choice — embraced his own accomplishment. And acknowledged ‘a number of similarities’ between the Massachusetts plan and the one passed by Congress. ‘If you lose a job or change a job, you won’t lose your insurance. Everybody in Massachusetts is able to keep insurance throughout their life. It’s not taken away from them. So it’s portable,’ Romney said. ‘No. 2, you can’t be canceled if you have a pre-existing condition or if you become ill once you’re insured. So in that respect, it’s very similar,’ the former governor said.” [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/31/10]

Romney Advisors Helped Create Federal Health Care reform

Three Romney’s Health Care Advisers Helped Craft The Affordable Care Act. According to NBC News, “Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as “Obamacare.”  Barely three months before the first Republican presidential nominating contests, Mitt Romney leads the GOP field in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to NBC News-Marist polls. The records, gleaned from White House visitor logs reviewed by NBC News, show that senior White House officials had a dozen meetings in 2009 with three health-care advisers and experts who helped shape the health care reform law signed by Romney in 2006, when the Republican presidential candidate was governor of Massachusetts. One of those meetings, on July 20, 2009, was in the Oval Office and presided over by President Barack Obama, the records show.” [NBC News,10/11/11]

Romney Health Care Advisor Jon Gruber: “The White House Wanted To Learn A Lot On What We’d Done In Massachusetts.” According to NBC News, “‘The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts,’ said Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney administration on health care and who attended five meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the president. ‘They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model.’”[NBC News,10/11/11]

Romney Health Care Advisor Jon Gruber Was Paid By The Obama Administration To Work With Congress On Drafting Federal Health Care Reform. According to NBC News, “In addition to Obama himself, the meetings attended by Gruber were presided over by the president’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, then budget director Peter Orzag and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the president’s chief adviser on health care, the records show. Gruber was also given a $380,000 contract by the Obama administration in 2009 to work with Congress on drafting a new federal law based on the Massachusetts law, records show.” [NBC News,10/11/11]

Romney Advisors Credit Romney For Inspiring National Health Care Reform

Romney Health Care Advisor Jon Gruber: Romney Is “The Father Of Health Care Reform.” According to NBC News, “Romney is ‘the father of health-care reform,’ said Gruber. ‘I think he is the single person most responsible for health care reform in the United States. … I’m not trying to make a political position or a political statement, I honestly feel that way. If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts … I don’t think it would have happened nationally. So I think he really is the guy with whom it all starts.’” [NBC News,10/11/11]

Former Romney Advisor Alex Castellanos: Romney “Did At The State Level Is What Obama Did At The Federal Level.” According to Bloomberg, “In previous remarks, Romney has defended the Massachusetts health-care law by saying insurance mandates should be the prerogative of states and not the federal government. And the topic remains something he can’t ignore in his still unofficial nomination bid, said Alex Castellanos, an adviser to Romney in his 2008 presidential campaign. ‘What he did at the state level is what Obama did at the federal level,’ Castellanos said. ‘This will be an interesting test for him.’” [Bloomberg, 2/11/11]

Romney Health Care Advisor Jonathan Gruber: Romney Is The “Intellectual Father Of National Health Reform.” According to the Boston Globe, “In the last week, many health care policy specialists, Democrats celebrating the bill’s passage, and Republicans condemning it have come to another conclusion. The difference between the two systems, they say, is slim. ‘Basically, it’s the same thing,’ said Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney and Obama administrations on their health insurance programs. A national health overhaul would not have happened if Mitt Romney had not made ‘the decision in 2005 to go for it. He is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform.’” [Boston Globe, 3/30/10]

Romney Health Care Advisor Jon Gruber: Romney Is “The One Person Who Deserves The Most Credit For The National Plan We Ended Up With. And Yet He’s Railing Against It. Does This Guy Believe In Anything?” According to Newsweek, “Now, six years later, Romney and Gruber no longer see eye to eye. With Republicans whipping themselves into an apocalyptic frenzy over President Obama’s newly minted health overhaul —which happens to be a close replica of the Massachusetts model—Romney has morphed into the law’s harshest critic, calling Obamacare “an unconscionable abuse of power” and vowing to lead a nationwide campaign to repeal it. Gruber, for his part, will never again consider voting for Romney. “He’s the one person who deserves the most credit for the national plan we ended up with,” says the economist, who has also advised Obama on health care. “And yet he’s railing against it. Does the guy believe in anything?” [Newsweek, 4/16/10]

Romney’s False Distinctions Between Massachusetts Health Care Reform And Federal Health Care Reform

At The September 2011 Reagan Library Debate, Romney Said His Massachusetts Health Care Plan Only Covered 8% Of The Population, While Obama Took Over 100% Of Health Care. At the September, 2007 debate Romney said, “One thing I know, and that is that what President Obama put in place is not going to work. It’s massively expensive. In our state, our plan covered 8 percent of the people, the uninsured… His plan is taking over 100 percent of the people, and the American people don’t like it and should vote it down.” [Republican Presidential Debate, 9/7/11]

Mitt Romney Received A “Pants On Fire” Rating From Politifact.com When He Said His Health Care Bill Dealt With A Far Smaller Percentage Of People Than President Obama’s. Politifact gave Mitt Romney a “Pants On Fire” rating when he made the comparison that “the Massachusetts health care plan “dealt with 8 percent of our population,” which was far less than the “100 percent of American people” affected by the health care law enacted with support from Obama.” Politfact’s rationale stated, “Either both laws affected something approaching 100 percent of the populace, or they affected about 8 percent (in Massachusetts) and 17 percent (in the U.S. as a whole). Romney is mixing two completely different things together to make a point that simply isn’t valid. The way Romney phrased it, listeners would be led to believe that the reach of the federal law is vastly wider than that of the Massachusetts law. In reality, on the question of covering the uninsured through an individual mandate — the specific criterion Romney used in his comments — the percentages of people affected aren’t wildly divergent. So we rate Romney’s statement Pants on Fire!” [Politifact.com, 9/7/11]

Romney Said His Health Care Bill Was To Help People Keep Insurance, But That Obama’s Was “A Government Takeover.” Politico reported that, “Romney said Massachusetts’s goal had been to ‘Help people get and keep their insurance.’ Obama’s goal, he said, was ‘a government takeover of health care.’” [Politico, 5/12/11 ]

Politifact Gave Mitt Romney A “Pants On Fire” Ranking When He Said Obama’s Health Care Law Was A Government Takeover Of Health Care. Politifact reported that Romney said President Obama’s health care law “represents a government takeover of health care.” Politifact concluded that “There’s no question that ‘government takeover’ has been a successful talking point. A poll in March 2010 found that a majority of the American people believed it was true. But the facts simply don’t support it. The health care law continues to depend on private health insurance and private-sector physicians. So Romney earns the same rating as others who have made the false claim: Pants on Fire!” [Politifact.com, 5/13/11 ]

Romney Said He Did Not Raise Taxes In Massachusetts For Healthcare. Romney said Obama’s health care reform, “…raises $500 billion in taxes. We didn’t raise taxes in Massachusetts… Obamacare takes $500 billion out of Medicare and funds Obamacare. We, of course, didn’t do that. And, finally, ours was a state plan, a state solution, and if people don’t like it in our state, they can change it. That’s the nature of why states are the right place for this type of responsibility. And that’s why I introduced a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a state-centric program.” [CNN Rushed Transcript, NH GOP Presidential Debate, 6/13/11 ]

CATO Institute: Massachusetts Raised Taxes On Tobacco, Hospitals, Insurers And Employers To Cover The Cost Of Romney’s Health Care Reform. According to the CATO Institute, “Nevertheless, those costs are appearing in higher taxes and health insurance premiums. State officials have raised taxes on tobacco, hospitals, insurers and employers, as well as eliminated coverage for many legal immigrants just to scrape up their 20 percent share of the cost.” [CATO, 8/27/09

CATO: Massachusetts Raised Taxes And Fees To Pay For Romney’s Health Care Plan. According to the CATO Institute, “With the health care program expected to contribute as much as one-third of the state’s expected $1.3 billion budget deficit in 2008, Governor Deval Patrick and the legislature imposed a $1 per pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax to help pay for the program. The regressive tax increase, which falls most heavily on the state’s low-income residents, is projected to raise $154 million annually. The state also imposed approximately $89 million in fees and assessments on health care providers and insurers.” [Michael Tanner, CATO, 6/9/09]

National Review: Romney’s Health Care Plan Relied On Federal Subsidies And Fee Increases. According to the National Review, “Romney has taken to making three arguments in his defense. First, he criticizes Obamacare for its $669 billion in tax increases, claiming that the Massachusetts plan did not increase taxes. That is technically true — if you consider only the legislation as Romney signed it. However, it is also true that the legislation relied heavily on federal subsidies — more than $300 million — and was still underfunded. Romney’s successor was forced both to cut back on some benefits that the plan originally offered and to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack ($154 million annually) to help pay for the program. The state also imposed approximately $89 million in fees and assessments on health-care providers and insurers.” [National Review, 12/1/10]

Massachusetts Raised Taxes On Cigarettes To Help Pay For Romney’s Health Care Reform.  According to the Associated Press, “The tax on a pack of cigarettes in Massachusetts will jump by a dollar under a bill signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick. The tax, one of the highest in the nation, goes into effect immediately. Patrick signed the bill Tuesday, a day after House and Senate lawmakers rushed to approve the bill by the start of the new fiscal year. The increase brings Massachusetts’ cigarette tax to $2.51 per pack. New York has the highest cigarette tax in the nation at $2.75 per pack. Supporters say the tax increase would help raise $174 million in revenues. They say the extra money will go to help cover the cost of the state’s landmark health care law.” [AP, 7/1/08]          

In 2010, Romney Said Health Care Reform Should Be Left To The States. Appearing on MSNBC Romney stated, “Number two, it’s best done state by state. Getting everyone insured is very different to do in Massachusetts than it is in Texas.” [MSNBC, 3/3/10]

Romney: If Massachusetts Health Care Reform Has “National Implications And Applicability, That Would Be Wonderful.” According to the Associated Press,“Romney, whose father ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968, said he understood the presidential implications of the health care bill but he didn’t want to talk about them. ‘I have nothing to add to that,’ he said with a laugh. ‘I actually ran with (health care reform) as something that I wanted to do. If there are national implications and applicability, that would be wonderful.’” [AP, 4/5/06

Romney: Massachusetts Health Care Reform “Will Be A Model For The Nation.” According to Newsweek, “During a speech in Baltimore on Feb. 2, 2007, Romney outlined his ambitions for the Massachusetts plan. ‘I’m proud of what we’ve done,’ he said. ‘If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.’ Last month Romney’s dream came true. If Republicans knew what was good for them, they would stop treating it as a nightmare.” [Newsweek, 4/16/10]

Romney Portrayed Massachusetts Health Care Reform As A “Template For National Reforms.” According to the Detroit News, “Romney portrayed the health-care reform passed when he was Massachusetts governor as a potential template for national reforms, and as an example of his governing philosophy. The plan – which mandated that nearly all uninsured residents buy private health insurance while making insurance costs more affordable and aiding low-income residents in paying their costs – was the product of two years of intensive study, involving health-care experts, management consultants and complex computer modeling of Massachusetts residents’ behavior, Romney said.” [Detroit News, 12/9/07]

Romney On Getting All Massachusetts Citizens Insured: “If We Can Do That Nationally, We Help…The Entire Nation.” According to CNN, Romney said, “One is to finally get a grip on the extraordinary increase in the cost of health care. That’s one of the big legacy cost features. I went after that in Massachusetts, was able to put in place a plan that helped get health insurance premiums down, and gets all of our citizens insured. If we can do that nationally, we help not only Michigan and the auto industry, but the entire nation.” [CNN, 1/14/08]