Is RomneyCare the Same as ObamaCare?

Michael Isikoff, the Newsweek veteran who is best known for his investigative reporting on the Monica Lewinsky flap, is out with a lengthy report divulging “fresh details” on how the Obama administration relied on the designers of RomneyCare in fashioning their own health-care law.

Despite the report’s somewhat breathless tone, it’s actually old news that Mitt Romney’s health-care experts helped design ObamaCare. Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who was the architect of both laws, received nearly $400,000 as a consultant to the Obama administration for “technical assistance in evaluating options for national healthcare reform.” (Gruber frequently failed to mention this fact when opining on the bill in the press.)

Gruber, for his part, has said all along that RomneyCare and ObamaCare are “basically…the same thing.” Gruber told the Boston Globe in March 2010 that ObamaCare would never have passed had Romney not made “the decision in 2005 to go for it. He is in many ways the intellectual father of national health reform.”

See Avik Roy piece here.

Comments (8)

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  1. Buster says:

    Of course the Massachusetts experiment was the basis for the Affordable Care Act. However, I don’t believe it’s accurate to lay all the blame at Gruber’s feet. The left-leaning public health advocates have been promoting the concept of an individual marketplace with guaranteed issue and community rating for years. The only way they could make it work (in their view) was through individual and employer mandates with generous sliding scale subsidies. This albatross has a lot more fathers than just Gruber. He just happened to be there at the right time to make some bucks modeling what the advocates already knew they wanted. (Gruber is arguably the most sensible member of the Commonwealth Connector Authority Board.)

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    Of course Massachusetts is the model for the Affordable Care Act. I just wish massachusetts would have implemented its plan years earlier — giving the country enough time to realize how unworkable it is.

  3. Brian Williams. says:

    As far as I’m concerned, they’re not the same thing. RomneyCare only affects Bay Staters. Obamacare harms everyone.

  4. Brian says:

    The one thing I don’t like about the whole Romney Care-inspired-Obamacare thing is that the issue of federalism gets lost in the discussion. Most Americans don’t understand that. And of course, the media ignores it because they think the federal government can create can pretty much whatever taxpayer funded program it wants.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    RomneyCare and ObamaCare are the result of two decades of foundation funding and state experiments that kept raising the ante on a seriously flawed view of what ails U.S. health care.

    Remember TennCare, Kentucky Kare, Colorado Care, Sooner Care, Keiki Care, Dirigo Care, Badger Care, the Oregon Health Plan, and the insurance reform that destroyed health insurance markets in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine?

    All funded and promoted by the same cloud of people using the same pots of money.

  6. John R. Graham says:

    As Avik Roy pointed out, RomneyCare did not explicitly raise taxes in MA, but in increased government spending, of which much was from the federal government, so it does increase taxes overall. Even worse, it imposes those costs on the other 49 states.

    I believe that I understand candidate Romney’s proposal for federal health reform after repealing Obamacare. I would score it B+. One plank in the platform is block grants to states. Good idea. However, I wonder if candidate Romney realizes that President Romney’s health reform would make Governor Romney’s health reform impossible?

  7. JIM GUIRARD says:

    Re the contentions of some that ObamaCare is modeled on “RomneyCare,” please be aware of the detailed June 2010 Heritage Foundation analysis to the contrary by highly regarded Dr. Robert Moffit, entitled “The Prospects for Ending ObamaCare: Learning From Healthcare History.”

    Clearly, the unholy parentage of this bureaucratic monstrosity is not the one-state Massachusetts healthcare plan — though there are some overlaps == but the universal, cradle-to-grave “HillaryCare” plan of the Clinton-Clinton-Gore Administration of the early 1990s. Dr. Moffit reveals in part:

    *********** Excerpt *************
    Key elements of liberal health policy proposals of the early 1990s [“HillaryCare,” for short] and of the Obama agenda of 2009– 2010 are strikingly similar in substance, though their presentation and legislative development were very different.

    Though the Obama Administration’s relentless work on behalf of the President’s health care agenda culminated in legislative success and the Clinton plan was a legislative failure, both health plans lost in the court of public opinion at the climax of congressional deliberations. They shared certain common problems.

    Unappealing Centralized Control. Both the Clinton plan and Obamacare sought to concentrate decision-making on health care financing and delivery in Washington. Both included … (items separated, enlarged and bulleted for ease of reading) …

    o a highly prescriptive federal definition and control of the content of “acceptable” health insurance benefit packages;

    o individual and employer mandates to purchase federally approved health insurance plans;

    o multi-year Medicare cuts to finance the expansion of health care coverage;

    o centralization of federal control of health insurance markets, manifest in federally designed health insurance exchanges in the Obama version and geographically based “regional alliances” in the Clinton version; and

    o federal control of health care financing, characterized by taxpayer subsidies and premium rate regulation in the Obama version and

    o “premium caps” and a “global budget” governing all health care spending in the Clinton version.

    ************** End of Excerpt **************

    So, when President Obama cites “RomneyCare” as the model for his “bipartisan” (spell BUYpartisan) cradle-to-grave take-over of the American healthcare system, you will now know “the rest of the story” — as the late Paul Harvey would have said — and will be able to address the scam accordingly.


    A DC-area attorney, writer and national security strategist, Jim Guirard was longtime Chief of Staff to former US Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long of Louisiana. His Web site is devoted to truth in language and truth in history in public discourse.

  8. Carolyn Needham says:

    Another distinguishing aspect to bring up is IPAB. It’s been mentioned briefly in debates, but not very substantively.