Six years after Mitt Romney signed into law a signature health care reform package in Massachusetts, it’s his chief political rival, Barack Obama, who’s celebrating.
President Obama’s re-election team on Thursday released a three-minute web video marking the sixth anniversary of the law that’s now known as “Romneycare,” reminding voters that the signature effort in Massachusetts helped inspire Mr. Obama’s landmark legislation.
The video features health care reform experts who helped shaped both “Romneycare” and “Obamacare,” and it has the awkward effect of seemingly reminding voters that they may not like what Mr. Obama did– but if that’s the case, Romney should get some of the blame.
“Massachusetts health reform was going to be Mitt Romney’s central accomplishment that he would use on the national stage running for president,” John McDonough, who helped shape both the Romney and Obama plans, says in the video.
Most Americans want to get rid of at least parts of the federal law, according to the latest CBS News/ New York Times poll, and during last month’s Supreme Court hearings on the law, the issue proved to be as divisive as ever.
But perhaps more importantly for the Obama team, the similarities between the Massachusetts law and the federal law — and Romney’s staunch opposition to “Obamacare” — help the president’s re-election campaign cast Romney as a partisan with no principles.
“It was to President Obama’s credit he that said, yeah to borrow some ideas from the right, but look, here’s something that really worked,” health reform consultant Jonathan Gruber, who advised both Romney and Mr. Obama, says in the video. “Then all of a sudden, Mitt Romney started attacking basically what he’d done. Here’s a guy who came up with this brilliant idea, made it work in Massachusetts, then suddenly because it was from another party it was a bad idea.”
Romney has said during the Republican primary that he would repeal Mr. Obama’s reforms if he became president. In spite of his past remarks that the Massachusetts law could serve as a national model, his campaign maintains that the reforms are wrong for the country.
“President Obama was wrong to impose a one-size-fits-all plan for the nation on healthcare,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in response to the video released today. “Obamacare is bad policy and it’s bad law. What is important is that states should be free to pursue their own solutions, and we look forward to celebrating the day Obamacare is overturned and that power is returned to the states.”