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GOP2012: Republican debate, December 15th, 2011
The Reality
Fact Check

Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Plan Was Just Like President Obama’s Health Care Plan

September 22, 2011 at 10:11 P.M.

The health care bill that Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts has many similarities to the health care law that was signed by President Obama. These similarities include an individual responsibility to buy health insurance, subsidies to help the low income purchase insurance, and health care exchanges. Romney also repeatedly called his Massachusetts health care plan a "model" for the nation. 

  • Romney: "There Are Some Similarities Between What We Did In Massachusetts And What President Obama Did." At the Iowa Fox News debate, Mitt Romney said of then-candidate Tim Pawlenty, comparing President Obama’s health care plan to Romney’s: "I think I like Tim's answer at the last debate better. There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people." [Fox News Debate, Iowa, 8/11/11]
  • PolitiFact: "The Truth Is That There Are An Awful Lot Of Similarities Between The Plan He Signed In Massachusetts In 2006 Often Call 'RomneyCare' And The One That President Barack Obama Signed In 2010."  "Last week, Mitt Romney gave a speech and a PowerPoint presentation to distance himself from the new federal health care law, which Republicans often call ‘ObamaCare.’ But the truth is that there are an awful lot of similarities between the plan he signed in Massachusetts in 2006, often called 'RomneyCare,' and the one that President Barack Obama signed in 2010. Both leave in place the major insurance systems: employer-provided insurance, Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for the poor. They seek to reduce the number of uninsured by expanding Medicaid and by offering tax breaks to help moderate income people buy insurance. People are required to buy insurance or pay a penalty, a mechanism called the ‘individual mandate.’ And companies that don't offer insurance have to pay fines, with exceptions for small business and a few other cases." [PolitiFact, 5/18/11]
  • Wall Street Journal: "Everyone Knows, The Health Reform Mr. Romney Passed In 2006 As Massachusetts Governor Was The Prototype For President Obama’s Version And Gave National Health Care A Huge Political Boost." Wall Street Journal editorial in anticipation of Romney’s heath care address: "As everyone knows, the health reform Mr. Romney passed in 2006 as Massachusetts Governor was the prototype for President Obama's version and gave national health care a huge political boost." [Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 5/12/11]
  • The Massachusetts Health Connector Sent Out An Email That Stated "Massachusetts Health Reform Provided The Model For National Reform" And Listed The Similarities. The Health Connector and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which are charged with implementing the 2006 legislation, sent out an e-mail Friday containing a Top 10 list of facts about the measure. One specifically describes the law Romney enacted as the model for the federal universal health care program signed into law by President Obama last year… The No. 6 point says flatly: 'Massachusetts health reform provided the model for national reform. Like Massachusetts, the new national law calls for the formation of (health insurance) Exchanges. The Health Connector’s tiering system, which offers consumers a choice of gold, silver or bronze coverage, was also adopted in a slightly expanded way. Like Massachusetts, the national law sets minimum coverage standards and will include benefits like elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions. A number of the benefits in the Massachusetts law are enhanced under national reform, most notably extension of subsidy assistance for individuals from 300 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, extension of federally-subsidized coverage to legal immigrants and extension of insurance protections to self-funded private coverage.'" [Boston Globe, 3/11/11]
  • Senator Scott Brown: The Senate Health Care Bill Is “Really Mirroring What We Did A Couple Of Years Ago Through Governor Romney’s Leadership." Scott Brown said, "Well it’s been interesting looking at the Senate and the US Senate is doing. They’re really mirroring what we did a couple of years ago through Governor Romney’s leadership. We had a bipartisan plan that was carefully crafted to make sure that everybody’s interests were taken" into consideration: business, providers, individuals and obviously the Commonwealth. And as I said we have a plan that is somewhat similar to what the Federal plan [...] Without the Federal stimulus dollars and the waiver money filling our plan, it would fail. And you have a really great plan, we’ve gone from 10% uninsured to really 2.6 million people uninsured, er, 2.6% people uninsured. So it’s worked, but it also has its failures." [Think Progress, 2/4/10]



  • Romney In 2009: "I Think There Are A Number Of Features In The Massachusetts Plan That Could Inform Washington On The Ways To Improve Health Care For All Americans…The Fact That We Were Able To Get People Insured Without A Government Option Is A Model I Think They Can Learn From." "Back in 2006, as a Republican governor in a deep blue state, Mitt Romney signed into law a health care plan that would insure almost every resident of Massachusetts. At the time, it was praised by supporters of health care reform as a landmark achievement for the then-governor. The lynchpin of ‘RomneyCare’ was an insurance mandate that required the people of Massachusetts to get health insurance. In an interview with CNN in 2009, as Washington was debating President Barack Obama's health care proposal, Romney said portions of the Massachusetts law could serve as a model for the country. ‘I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans,’ Romney told CNN. 'The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.'" [CNN, 3/7/11]
  • Romney On Massachusetts Health Care Reform: If There Are "National Implications And Applicability, That Would Be Wonderful." "Romney, whose father ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 1968, said he understood the presidential implications of the health care bill but he didn’t want to talk about them. 'I have nothing to add to that,' he said with a laugh. 'I actually ran with (health carereform) as something that I wanted to do. If there are national implications and applicability, that would be wonderful.'" [AP, 4/5/06]
  • Romney: In Massachusetts I "Was Able To Put In Place A Plan That Helped Get Health Insurance Premiums Down, And Get All Of Our Citizens Insured. If We Can Do That Nationally, We Help… The Entire Nation." Romney said, "One is to finally get a grip on the extraordinary increase in the cost of health care. That’s one of the big legacy cost features. I went after that in Massachusetts, was able to put in place a plan that helped get health insurance premiums down, and gets all of our citizens insured. If we can do that nationally, we help not only Michigan and the auto industry, but the entire nation." [CNN, 1/14/08]
  • 2007: Romney Said That The Massachusetts Plan "Will Be A Model For The Nation." "During a speech in Baltimore on Feb. 2, 2007, Romney outlined his ambitions for the Massachusetts plan. 'I'm proud of what we’ve done,' he said. 'If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.' Last month Romney’s dream came true. If Republicans knew what was good for them, they would stop treating it as a nightmare." [Newsweek, 4/16/10]
  • Romney "Portrayed" MA Health Plan as "Potential Template for National Reforms." "Romney portrayed the health-care reform passed when he was Massachusetts governor as a potential template for national reforms, and as an example of his governing philosophy. The plan - which mandated that nearly all uninsured residents buy private health insurance while making insurance costs more affordable and aiding low-income residents in paying their costs - was the product of two years of intensive study, involving health-care experts, management consultants and complex computer modeling of Massachusetts residents’ behavior, Romney said." [Detroit News, 12/9/07]
  • Romney: "There Are Some Aspects Of What We Proposed And Put In Our Health Plan That Actually Could Be Helpful For The Entire Nation And May Well Figure Into National Legislation." Romney was asked about his health care reform; "Is this something you would consider proposing for the federal government as well?" Romney replied, "My current thinking on that is that the states as laboratories really play a very useful role for the nation. There are some aspects of what we proposed and put in our health plan that actually could be helpful for the entire nation and may well figure into national legislation." [Interview, Human Events, 12/28/06]
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