Giving this week’s GOP address, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) bashed Democratic efforts to reform health care as a “bitter, destructive, and endless drive to completely transform America’s healthcare system.” Saying Democrats should scrap their plan and start over, Brown said, “This, above all, was the message that the people of my state sent to the president and the Congress in the election over a month ago.”
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod responded to Brown’s comments on ABC’s This Week, noting that that Brown’s state has a health care plan that is very similar “to the one we’re trying to enact here,” and Brown “voted for it”:
AXELROD: Let me note that Senator Brown comes from a state that has a health care format in his state that is similar to the one we’re trying to enact here. People in his state are overwhelmingly in support of it. He voted for it and said he wouldn’t repeal it. So we’re just trying to give the people in america the same opportunities that the people in Massachusetts have. To get health insurance at a price they can afford. This bill is important for the American people.
Appearing after him, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called Axelrod’s comments “complete spin” and said, “no way in the world is what they did in Massachusetts like what we’re about to do in Washington:”
GRAHAM: And the interview I just heard is spin, campaigning. I thought the campaign was over. Are you trying to tell me and the American people that Scott Brown got elected campaigning against a Washington bill that really is just like the Massachusetts bill? The American people are getting tired of this crap. No way in the world is what they did in Massachusetts like what we’re about to do in Washington. We didn’t cut Medicare — they didn’t cut Medicare when they passed the bill in Massachusetts. They didn’t raise $500 billion on the American people when they passed the bill in Massachusetts. To suggest that Scott Brown is basically campaigning against the bill in Washington that is like the one in Massachusetts is complete spin.
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In fact, the plan implemented by former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts is very similar to the Democratic proposal. Both plans require people to purchase coverage and both provide affordability credits to those who can’t afford insurance. Both create insurance exchanges, both establish minimum creditable coverage standards for insurers, and both require employers to contribute towards reform. The Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky created a chart outlining the similarities between Romney’s plan and the Senate bill that passed in December and will become the foundation of national health care reform.
Graham cites only two issues to support his claim: Medicare cuts and tax raises “on the American people.” But of course, no state has the authority to either change Medicare or raises taxes on all Americans.
Even conservatives see the similarities between the two plans. “[T]he public option has now vanished from the Obama plan. Which means that the federal plan bears a closer family resemblance than ever to Romney’s idea,” former Bush speech writer David Frum observed. American Spectator’s Philip Klein said there “ain’t” any substantial differences between the plans. The key parts of the Democratic proposal are the same as “those elements [that] formed the core of Romneycare,” Klein adds.