Romney On Obamacare: ‘President Should Have Been More Attuned To What We Did In Our Own State’

Potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney likes to say that President Obama or the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act without learning from the experiences in Massachusetts or any other state. “People often compare his plan to the Massachusetts plan. They’re as different as night and day,” Romney said in an interview in March of 2010. “I think the President should have been more attuned to what we did in our own state, which is we allowed each state to create a solution to the uninsured in the way that the states thought best, that’s the way the Constitution intended it.”

But Obama, his closest health care advisers, and the plan itself all suggest that Romney got even more than he wished for — a law that closely resembles (but is not identical to) the structure of the so-called Massachusetts experiment. In fact, Romney’s plan contains some policies that are even more liberal (in its standard benefit design and employer responsibility provisions) than those found in the national health care law:

Major Provisions Affordable Care Act Massachusetts Health Law
Individual Mandate Yes Yes
Employer Responsibility Yes — but not required to provide coverage Yes — required to provide coverage
Affordability Credits Yes Yes
Standard Benefit Package Yes — w/o abortion services Yes — w/ abortion services
Establishes Exchanges Yes Yes
Prohibits Insurance Company From Canceling Coverage Yes Yes
Bans Denying Medical Coverage For Pre-existing Conditions Yes Yes
Medicaid Expansion Yes Yes
Medicare Cuts Yes No Authority

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in March 2010, Romney highlighted his support for the plan’s individual health insurance mandate. “I think our plan is working well. And perhaps the best thing I can say about it, it’s saving lives. It is the ultimate pro-life effort,” he said. “We said people have to take responsibility for getting insurance if they can afford it or paying their own way. No more free riders.”

In fact, given that Romney has previously characterized his state’s approach to reform as “the ultimate conservative idea” and “a Republican way,” one wonders why he would be so opposed to repealing a national version of his successful reforms.