Romney Claimed Final Massachusetts Health Law ‘Incorporates 95 Percent Of My Original Proposal’

On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney distances himself from his signature health care law by highlighting the eight vetoes he made to the measure the day he signed it, and blaming Massachusetts Democrats for failing to keep costs under control and implement it correctly. As he explains in his book No Apology, “So I vetoed measures I felt were expensive or counterproductive, but there were overridden by the legislature.” He echoed this message on Fox News Sunday: “There are some features I didn’t like that the legislature put in place,” he said, referring to the employer mandate, and they essential health benefits provisions. “I vetoed it, they overrode it, that’s the nature of the legislative process.”

But as Sen. John McCain’s 2008 opposition book on Romney points out, the former Massachusetts governor felt satisfied with the law he ultimately signed. A June 7, 2006 Newsweek article quotes Romney as saying:

The final legislation incorporates about 95 percent of my original proposal. So I think, overall, it is a major step forward. We will have health insurance for all our citizens without a government takeover and without new taxes required.”

Indeed, as Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman write in The Real Romney, the GOP candidate had been pleased with the final version of the law, telling reporters, “We are where we’d hoped we’d be.” “This isn’t 100 percent of what anyone in this room wanted,” Romney said at the signing ceremony in April 2006. “But the differences between us are small.”

Romney explained that the law would be “a big part of the legacy I will have personally for my four years of service as governor.” “But,” he added, “I have no way of telling if it’s going to be a help or a hindrance down the road.”