JONATHAN CHAIT NOVEMBER 9, 2010
In his 60 Minutes interview, President Obama again cited the similarity to Mitt Romney's health care bill as evidence of the moderation of the Affordable Care Act:
We thought that if we shaped a bill that wasn't that different from bills that had previously been introduced by Republicans, including the Republican governor of Massachusetts, who's now running for president, we would be able to find common ground.
Mitt Romney Central goes ballistic:
The notion that the Dems specifically tried to pattern ObamaCare after the Massachusetts plan is an outright lie. I’ve scoured news article and blogs from 2009 to Feb. 2010 when all the debate for the ObamaCare bill had taken place, and NOWHERE do the the Dems refer to MA as a model. They are trying to re-write history for political expedience.
The tactic of falsely using “RomneyCare” as cover is a win-win-win situation for Obama:
It cements in the minds of liberals that the Dems were truly trying to be bipartisan, and allows them to paint Republicans as partisan hacks since ObamaCare received not a single vote from Republicans.
It gives Romney’s opponents on the right fodder to toss about. They merrily repeat the false claim in effort to build up a mantra against Romney.
For Obama, it weakens what he may consider his most likely opponent for 2012.
The first mention from any Dem saying they patterned ObamaCare after the MA plan was after the bill already passed. If they had modeled it after MA Care wouldn’t they have at least conferred with Romney once? They didn’t. Not until they realized how disgusted the American people were with the bill did they try to pass along some of the blame to Mitt Romney. The fact that one bill is 70 pages and the other is 2700+ alone should put to rest any notion that they are equal plans. One is a state effort to fix a state problem, the other is a bloated monstrosity that is an unconstitutional over-reach of power.
Sorry, but this is completely off-point. Obama is saying that he shaped his health care bill in the image of what had been the Republican position on health care reform for a long time, dating back at least to 1993, when Senate Republicans endorsed a similar proposal. Romney's plan is the latest evidence of that similarity. Obama didn't say he patterned his plan specifically after Romney's, and it doesn't matter for Obama's purposes. the point is that regulate-mandate-subsidize was a respectable GOP position right up until 2009. Romney's plan is a state-level version of the Affordable Care Act, and the two plans were even designed by the same economist. Hand-waving about the different page lengths of the plan or the Constitution doesn't get around those facts.
Romney's problem is that he was caught up in his party's massive rightward lurch -- his position was almost completely uncontroversial in 2008, but it has become anathema in 2012 because the GOP has lost its mind. I genuinely wish Romney good luck in winning the party nomination, because he's at heart a sane man trying to lead an insane party.
Update: Rick Perry calls on Romney to repudiate his plan. This isn't going to end well for Romney.