What’s lost in all the talk about Romneycare laying the foundation for Obamacare is that the talk is based on a lie. Governor Romney’s plan is not what was enacted by the Democrat-controlled legislature and Romney’s Democrat successor Coupe Deval Patrick.
This article lays out what really happened. And I only hope that when this comes up in the general election that Mitt’s team points to the glaring changes that the Democrats made. Perhaps in one of those infographics like “Julia” that Ed likes so much.
But Obamacare owes as much, if not more, to Patrick’s implementation of the 2006 law, than it does to Romney’s original design. According to a Boston Herald report from April 2006, “Democrats privately and publicly grumbled over the headline treatment being lavished on Romney by the national press for a bill they say is more of the state Legislature’s making than the governor’s.”
Romney vetoed the employer mandate; Democrats in Boston and Washington imposed one. Romney sought to require individuals to purchase inexpensive catastrophic insurance; Democrats in Boston and Washington forced individuals to buy costly, comprehensive plans. Romney sought a diverse market of insurance plans for small businesses; Democrats in Boston and Washington restricted insurance choices to three generous tiers.
And this is all before you get to the important differences between a state-based health reform plan and a federal one. “Our health care plan was not designed for 50 states,” Romney said in April 2006. “It was designed for one state. We’re going to have an experiment the other 49 states can look at, elements they can adopt.”
It’s a shame that Romney hasn’t drawn more of a distinction between the reforms he sought and the ones Massachusetts got. He certainly has a case to make on that front.
Romney genuinely strove for a free-market-based solution to the grave problems with Massachusetts’ dysfunctional insurance market. But Romney put too much faith in the willingness of Democrats to implement his ideas, as opposed to their own, especially after Romney left office. Romney’s biggest mistake was the individual mandate. The individual mandate was a loaded gun that Romney handed to his opponents, who used it to force individuals to buy comprehensive insurance they didn’t need.