Senior Romney Health Care Adviser Selling Consulting Services To Help Implement Obamacare

Romney with Mike Leavitt

Yesterday, ModernHealthcare reported that Mike Leavitt, a top adviser to Mitt Romney, believes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can move the health care system in the right direction. The comments fly in the face of Romney’s pledge to repeal the measure, but fail to capture the full scope of Leavitt’s support for key elements of the law.

While the former Health and Human Services Secretary has generally called for greater state flexibility and argued that the ACA transfers too much power to his successor, Kathleen Sebelius, Leavitt has consistently argued that government must play a role in regulating the health care system. For instance, during a speech at the Hudson Institute on September 15, 2011, Leavitt maintained:

LEAVITT: I argue routinely that government ought not to be playing a large role here. But I need to acknowledge, and I believe we all do, many of these things given the circumstances will require government. […]

I’m here to argue that government’s got to play a role, it’d be far better to have it organizing an efficient system than to owning it. And I think the incumbent situation that we’re moving toward now in the Affordable Care Act is clearly about government operating the system, and we need to move more toward — and Medicare ought to be in the lead. Now, you didn’t ask all that but I enjoyed saying it. Thank you for — (laughter).

Consequently, Leavitt’s consulting firm, Leavitt Partners, is heavily invested in the law’s state-based exchanges and “has been advising companies and state legislatures on how to create exchanges.” The group hired two former government officials who helped build the Utah exchange soon after the federal health law passed” and its websites brags about its abilities to help clients implement the measure:

The release goes on to say, “Our team now has policy expertise and information system and process expertise as it relates to all of the detailed components of setting up an exchange. We offer clients our knowledge of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act and the technical know-how to create a successful health insurance exchange.”

The site even includes a separate “Health Insurance Exchange Intelligence Team” page:

A spokesperson for Leavitt did not dispute that the consulting firm has been helping states implement the law, but told ThinkProgress, “Gov. Leavitt supports the repeal of the ACA. His firm has advised states to prepare for every alternative as it relates to the ongoing implementation or repeal of the law.”