This news should make tonight’s debate interesting.
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.”
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.
“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.”
Romney has forcefully defended the Massachusetts law he signed, but says he is adamantly against a “one-size-fits-all national health-care system” imposed on all 50 states. “I will repeal Obamacare,” he has said. “And on day one of my administration, I will grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.”
Asked about the White House records, a Romney campaign spokeswoman responded by citing comments that Romney made last April after Obama suggested the White House had borrowed from his law in Massachusetts.
“He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan,” Romney said of Obama. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? …Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t. … I would have told him, ‘What you’re doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.’”
The problem with citing Romney comments on any subject is that at some point he surely said the opposite, and sounded like he meant it. You can’t go by his comments, you have to consider his actions, and in Romney’s case he ran as a center-left candidate and governed from the center left.
Today’s revelation makes this Perry ad, released Monday, all the more timely.
Back to the story about how RomneyCare morphed into ObamaCare:
The health-care reform law in Massachusetts was seen as a national breakthrough when Romney signed it an elaborate ceremony — complete with a fife and drum band — at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall on April 12, 2006. It was attended by an array of prominent political figures in the state, including the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a longtime champion of health-care reform.
Kennedy warmly praised Romney at the event, saying, “You’ve led the way over the long and winding path to this moment.”
Romney himself touted the historic significance of the act. “Massachusetts once again is taking a giant leap forward,” he said at the signing ceremony.
About that leap forward. Since RomneyCare’s passage, the plan has cost far more than expected, health care costs have risen sharply, government has grown while liberty contracted, and by one estimate, RomneyCare cost the state of Massachusetts 18,000 jobs.
So in terms of its outcomes as an expensive big government failure, RomneyCare has turned out to be the perfect blueprint for ObamaCare.
I’ll close this post with this quote, from one of RomneyCare’s architect who was later consulted by the Obama White House:
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.”