Obama's Health Care Plan Was Based on Romney's, Investigation Shows
President Barack Obama based his health care law directly on a similar law passed in Massachusetts when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was governor, an NBC News investigation released on Tuesday found.
According to White House visitor logs, three health care experts who advised Romney in 2006 met with senior officials in the Obama administration on at least a dozen occasions in 2009, when Obama was developing his health care plan.
When it was passed in 2006, the Massachusetts law was heralded as a historic breakthrough, and it was seen as one of the crowning accomplishments of Romney's term as governor. Romney threw his full support behind the law, and, interestingly, he was the biggest proponent of an individual mandate: the most controversial provision of the national health care law.
The individual mandate requires every citizen to buy health insurance to avoid a tax penalty. Romney's advisers -- the same experts who met with White House officials in 2009 -- were hesitant about that provision. But according to Gruber, the MIT economist, "Governor Romney clearly stated that he believed without an individual mandate, healthy people could just free-ride on the system."
Interestingly, although Romney has maintained adamantly on the campaign trail that he never intended the Massachusetts health care plan to become a model for national policy, the first edition of his book, "No Apology," said of the plan, "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country." He deleted that line in the paperback edition.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, one of Romney's opponents for the Republican presidential nomination, released an attack ad on Monday that highlighted the deletion of that line.
"When it comes to government-mandated health care, there is no difference between Mitt Romney and President Obama," a spokesman for Perry said in a press release.
Gruber argued that, despite Romney's attempts to distance himself, his efforts in Massachusetts contributed in a major way to the passage of the national health care law.
"I think he is the single person most responsible for health care reform in the United States," he told NBC. "I'm not trying to make a political position or a political statement -- I honestly feel that way. If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts ... I don't think it would have happened nationally. So I think he really is the guy with whom it all starts."http://m.ibtimes.com/obam...28941.html
[This message has been edited by Cheryl Pieters (10/23/2011)]