Meet Mitt Romney’s Health Care Team

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney instituted health reforms that have expanded coverage to almost all residents and created a successful model for increasing access across the nation.

But Romney has walked away from that plan as a Republican candidate for president and has instead adopted a traditional market-driven approach that encourages the uninsured to purchase coverage in the unregulated individual market, push the sick into state-based high-risk insurance pools, and do little to lower health care costs or encourage providers to deliver care more efficiently. Below are the people who are advising him in this effort:


Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor and the chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center. He opposes Obamacare, writing in a Politico op-ed that “continued access to the world’s best medical care…is certain to dramatically decrease” if the Affordable Care Act is not stopped. But in 2007, when Atlas supported former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign, Atlas also attacked Romney’s “federalist” health care plan, trying to discredit the plan by pointing to Romney’s support of an individual mandate in Massachusetts. “Mitt Romney’s legacy is the creation of a multi-billion dollar government health bureaucracy that punishes employers and insists middle income individuals either purchase health insurance or pay for their own health care,” Atlas said in 2007.


Howard is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and director of the institute’s Center for Medical Progress. And like Atlas, Howard has gone on the record in opposition to Romney’s signature health care reform law in Massachusetts. “It’s no secret that the template for President Obama’s health-reform legislation was the Massachusetts health-care plan enacted in 2006,” he wrote in 2010. And Howard added that “small businesses face higher health-insurance costs” as a result of Romneycare.


Gottlieb, a practicing physician and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was a deputy commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration from 2005 to 2007. Along with AEI’s Tom Miller in 2010, Gottlieb wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which they conceded that even if Republicans can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act, they can undermine its key feature: the state-based health insurance exchanges. Gottlieb, along with AEI’s Tom Miller, suggested the Utah exchange model instead — in which any insurer can join and offer almost any policy it wants — but what’s fairly certain is that this model has been tried before and failed. In 2008, Gottlieb baselessly suggested that the private insurance plans that participate in Medicare Advantage provide better care than traditional Medicare and should not be cut — despite the fact that there is no evidence private Medicare Advantage plans provide better care than Medicare to justify the higher costs. And Gottlieb has claimed that Medicaid is “worse than no coverage at all.”


Troy, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as the deputy secretary for health and human services from 2007 to 2009. During President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, “Troy had primary responsibility for debate preparation.” He also attacked President Obama’s reading choices when the president went to Martha’s Vineyard for a vacation in 2011, questioning if Obama was reading too many novels and criticizing him for not reading conservative authors.


Former Utah governor and health and human services secretary, Leavitt has been tapped to head a potential Romney transition. He is also head of consulting firm Leavitt Partners, which is heavily invested in the law’s state-based exchanges and advises states on how to establish the new insurance marketplaces. Even though Romney has promised to get rid of Obamacare, Leavitt has “chided those who were delaying action in the hope that the health care law would be repealed.”