At last night’s GOP presidential debate, Rick Santorum challenged Mitt Romney on the similarities between the health care reform he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts and President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “Your mandate is no different than Barack Obama’s mandate. It is the same mandate,” Santorum charged. “You take over 100 percent, just like he takes over 100 percent, requires the mandate. The same fines that you put in place in Massachusetts are fines that he puts in place in the federal level. Same programs.”
The comparison immediately put Romney on the defense, who claimed, “I didn’t say I’m in favor of top- down government-run health care,” and explained that he expanded access to “private insurance” and allowed people to “choose any plan” within a state-run exchange. “There’s no government plan,” he added. “And if you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders.”
Romney’s description of his plan sounded so much like Obama’s rational for the federal health care law that ThinkProgress has compiled a video comparing how both politicians describe their reforms. Watch it:
Indeed, Romneycare and Obamacare share more than a dozen common provisions, for a full comparison, click here.