ThinkProgress filed this report from a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire
Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law last March, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has struggled to distance himself from it while also touting the strikingly similar health reform plan he signed into law while governor. Romney has attempted to paint his plan as a state solution to a state problem, saying the federal government has no role in helping the states address rising health care costs.
Romney took that criticism a step farther Thursday in New Hampshire, where he told attendees at his town hall that the federal government has “made a real mess” out of health care, causing widespread economic problems for the country:
I happen to think that around this country, by and large, where there are problems in the economy, it’s where the government has played too heavy a hand. And that’s in health care, for instance. We’ve got problems in health care. Why have we got problems in health care? Well, because government buys about half of health care. Medicare, Medicaid, government employees, they buy about half of health care. And they set the rules. And I think they’ve made a real mess of things. And now that Obamacare is starting to get (inaudible).
What Romney ignores in criticizing the government for buying “half of health care,” however, is that his Massachusetts plan relied on the federal government to pay for half of its own costs. He admitted as much last April, when he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “Actually, from the beginning the plan was a 50/50 deal between the federal government and the state government. The feds fund half of it, they have from the very beginning.”
Romneycare, meanwhile, remains both successful and popular in Massachusetts. More businesses are offering insurance, the state has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation, and more than 60 percent of Bay Staters support it. And despite Romney’s new-found opposition to federal involvement, none of it would have been possible without assistance from the federal government.