On Tuesday, during an appearance on the Today show, Mitt Romney tried to highlight the differences between the health care law he signed in Massachusetts and the Affordable Care Act by claiming that the text of his health care reform legislation was shorter. “My bill was 70 pages. [Obama's] is over 2,000. He’s doing a lot of stuff that’s devastating to the health care system in this country. He’s wrong,” Romney said.
But now, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has discovered that it’s actually Romney who is in the wrong, since he’s using some funny math to make the page comparison:
Michael Cannon, director of health policy at the Cato Institute, gave us a copy of a consolidated version of the two bills. In other words, this is what the law would have looked like if it had been written in the usual way. This version clocks in at just 907 pages.
Cannon is a critic of both laws and thinks that page length of a bill can be a telling indicator, showing a “potential for mischief.” But he estimated that the section of the national law that directly compares to Romney’s law is only about 200 pages of the 907-page version.
Okay, 200 pages is still more than 70, right? Not necessarily. When Romney signed the bill, the Boston Globe reported that it was 145 pages long. There’s not much difference between 200 and 145 pages. Perhaps Romney is now using double-sided paper?
Romeny’s camp dismisses all this and tells Kessler, “Our view is that President Obama’s health care law vastly increases the size, reach and power of the federal government, and this is borne out by the sheer volume of legislative language contained within its thousands of pages.” Be that as it may, but the reality is that Romney’s coverage provisions are almost identical to those in the Affordable Care Act. And if Obama’s law is longer, it’s because it has to deal with the entire country — as opposed to a single state — and because it actually tries to control health care spending, something Romney avoided in his 2006 legislation.