Shortly after he signed a law in 2006 bringing near-universal health care to Massachusetts, then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said it would be “wonderful” if his slate of reforms were to be applied on a national level.
”I actually ran with (health care reform) as something that I wanted to do. If there are national implications and applicability, that would be wonderful,” Romney told Ron Fournier of The Associated Press at the time.
Unfortunately for Romney, his wish came true. The federal Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama one year ago today, bears a remarkable resemblance to Romney’s plan for Massachusetts.
At their core, both packages ban insurance companies from discriminating against sick patients while combining government subsidies with an individual mandate to achieve near-universal coverage.
Romney even acknowledged that the template comprises Republican ideas.
”This is a Democratic ideal, which is getting health care for everybody, but achieved in a Republican way, which is reforming the private marketplace and insisting on personal responsibility,” Romney said in 2006.
The former governor’s signature legislative achievement has become a major albatross around his neck as he eyes the Republican nomination for president in 2012. Republicans have made opposition to the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of their agenda, addressing a base that views the law as both unconstitutional and an intrusive overreach of government power.
Romney has, awkwardly at times, attempted to cast daylight between his plan and Obama’s, as analysts roundly believe the issue could sink his presidential hopes. He has endorsed full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The argument he has settled on, as he wrote Wednesday in the National Review, is that the law is a “one-size-fits-all” plan that shouldn’t be implemented on a national level.