MSNBC carries some news the Romney campaign really didn’t want to break on the eve of a GOP presidential debate:
Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as “Obamacare.”
Whoa, wait a second. “Now derided by Republicans as ObamaCare?” We were “deriding” it that way long before it was whelped in a midnight voting session behind closed doors, after a tortured gestation of back-room deals, Cornhusker Kickbacks, last-minute sub-paragraphs, and betrayed principles.
Besides, didn’t the President just announce that it was officially OK by him if people call his health-care scheme “ObamaCare?” His exact quote was, “I have no problem with folks saying ‘Obamacares’… I do care.” Has he changed his mind again, and using his name in connection with his signature “achievement” is considered derisive once more?
At any rate, NBC News went through the White House visitor logs, and found that “senior White House officials had a dozen meetings in 2009 with three health-care advisers and experts who helped shape the health care reform law signed by Romney in 2006, when the Republican presidential candidate was governor of Massachusetts.” Obama himself presided over one of the meetings.
Uh-oh. But wait, it gets worse:
“The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts,” said Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney administration on health care and who attended five meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the president. “They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model.”
(Emphasis mine.) Gruber went on to pick up a $380,000 contract working on “drafting a new federal law based on the Massachusetts law,” and professes himself “disappointed” that Romney is trying to make distinctions between the wonders of ObamaCare and his own fabulous state program. “If Mitt Romney had not stood up for this reform in Massachusetts… I don’t think it would have happened nationally,” Gruber declares. He’s going to be really disappointed if Romney champions the repeal of ObamaCare, as he’s lately been promising to do.
Romney has been defending his own health-care disaster by promising he wouldn’t inflict anything like it on the rest of the country, if he becomes President. Lately he’s also been saying he would have warned Obama away from emulating RomneyCare, if the President had simply asked him. That’s a little harder to sell after these new revelations, but Romney’s campaign is still trying:
Asked about the White House records, a Romney campaign spokeswoman responded by citing comments that Romney made last April after Obama suggested the White House had borrowed from his law in Massachusetts.
“He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan,” Romney said of Obama. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? …Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t. … I would have told him, ‘What you’re doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.’”
How come the top advisors who designed RomneyCare didn’t tell Obama’s people that? Also, how many folks in Massachusetts knew they were the subjects of an “experiment?” Romney sure didn’t act that way when he was signing the law:
The health-care reform law in Massachusetts was seen as a national breakthrough when Romney signed it an elaborate ceremony — complete with a fife and drum band — at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall on April 12, 2006. It was attended by an array of prominent political figures in the state, including the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a longtime champion of health-care reform.
Kennedy warmly praised Romney at the event, saying, “You’ve led the way over the long and winding path to this moment.”
Romney himself touted the historic significance of the act. “Massachusetts once again is taking a giant leap forward,” he said at the signing ceremony.
A recent NH Journal poll showed that 53% of Massachusetts Republicans want RomneyCare repealed, while only 29% wanted to keep it. Maybe Romney could establish his bona fides as an ObamaCare repeal zealot by supporting the repeal of RomneyCare at tonight’s debate appearance. If he does, he’d better brace himself for some anguished phone calls from the people who designed both programs.
Update: The Repeal RomneyCare movement has a webiste: http://repeal-romneycare.com/. If Romney is thinking of jumping on board this movement to burnish those ObamaCare repeal credentials, they’ve got a handy web form he can use to sign himself up as a volunteer.
Sadly, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who endorsed Romney for president today, declared it was “intellectually dishonest” to compare RomneyCare and ObamaCare. Clearly, Governor Christie does not read enough blogs. At least, not enough of the right ones.