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GOP2012: Republican debate, October 11th, 2011
The Reality
Fact Check

Romney’s Health Care Plan Served as Model for the Affordable Care Act

December 11, 2011 at

First, Romney said his health care plan in Massachusetts would be a model for the nation. Then, he flip flopped and said it shouldn’t.  In reality, the national health reform law that Romney has vowed to repeal was based on Romney’s plan in Massachusetts.  



Major Provisions

Affordable Care Act

Massachusetts Health Law

Individual Mandate



Employer Responsibility

Yes — but not required to provide coverage

Yes — required to provide coverage

Affordability Credits



Standard Benefit Package

Yes — w/o abortion services

Yes — w/ abortion services

Establishes Exchanges



Prohibits Insurance Company From Canceling Coverage



Bans Denying Medical Coverage For Pre-existing Conditions



Medicaid Expansion



[CAP, ThinkProgress, 4/12/11]


PolitiFact: Pawlenty Says Obamacare Is Patterned After Romneycare “True.” “Pawlenty said that ‘Obamacare was patterned after Mitt's plan in Massachusetts.’ In rating that statement, we noticed that Pawlenty phrased his statement carefully. He didn't say it was the same plan, but instead said that the national law was ‘patterned’ after the Massachusetts law, and they had ‘substantial similarities.’ He's correct that the plans, thought not completely identical, are very similar in structure. They both require everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty; they both leave the current insurance system in place; they both expand coverage for the uninsured through subsidies or Medicaid. Because his statement accurately categorized the plans as similar -- but not exactly the same -- we rate Pawlenty's statement True.” [PolitiFact, 8/12/11]

  • Romney: “There Were Some Similarities” Between The Affordable Care Act And RomneyCare “And One Similarity That I Know Bothers People A Lot Is The Fact That There Is A Mandate In The Massachusetts Plan That I Put In Place.” Romney said in his health care address: “Now, there were some similarities, and one similarity that I know bothers people a lot is the fact that there is a mandate in the Massachusetts plan that I put in place.” [Romney, Health Care Address, 5/12/11]
  • White House Records Show Senior Obama Administration Officials Used Romneycare As A Model For The Affordable Care Act Including Recruiting Romney’s Own Health Care Advisers To Craft The National Bill. NBC wrote on Romney’s health care advisors, advising the White House on health care reform: “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.’” [NBC, 10/10/11]


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: “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: 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. The fact that we have portable insurance and that we were about to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they could learn from.”  [John King, CNN, 3/7/11]

PolitiFact: The Massachusetts Plan Did Serve As A Model For The Affordable Care Act. “‘Romneycare was model for Obamacare.’ Rick Perry on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 in a tweet… Although the federal law isn’t an exact replica of the one in Massachusetts, the plan signed by Romney certainly served as a model. We rate the statement as True.” [PolitiFact, 10/21/11]


 Romney Said He Didn’t Back Off The Individual Mandate Nationally Saying “I Like Mandates.” MR. GIBSON: (Off mike) -- Governor Romney -- (off mike) -- mandate and that’s an obstacle, although you’ve backed away from mandates on a national basis.  MR. ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. Do the mandates work? Mandates -- MR. THOMPSON: I beg your pardon? (Laughter.) MR. ROMNEY: Let me -- MR. THOMPSON: I didn’t know you were going to admit that. MR. ROMNEY: Let me -- oh, absolutely. MR. THOMPSON: You like mandates. MR. ROMNEY: Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this -- MR. THOMPSON: And what did you come up with? (Laughter.) MR./SEN. : Governor, you imposed tax -- tax penalties in Massachusetts -- (inaudible) -- MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everybody else. [ABC Debate, New Hampshire Debate, 1/5/08]


Romney Said The Individual Health Care Mandate Was “In My View, A Conservative Point Of View.” In an interview with Sean Hannity, Mitt Romney said of his Massachusetts health care plan: “We are going to insist they either get insurance or pay their own wait a minute no more showing up at the hospital and expecting government to pay for them. This is, in my view, a conservative point of view. Insist on personal responsibility. Say we are not going to let government grow and grow. We are spending over a billion dollars a year, giving out free care to people. Many of whom could care for themselves. That's wrong.” [Hannity, Fox, 6/2/11]


Romney Said He Supported The Wyden-Bennett Health Care Bill.  Romney said, “It’s important for us to have a stronger message as we go forward, and I think the party does have to stand up and be able to say, ‘Listen, Mr. Axelrod, you’re wrong when you say we don’t have ideas. We have a health care plan. You look at Wyden-Bennett. That’s a health care plan that a number of Republicans think is a very good health care plan -- one that we support. Take a look at that one.’” [Meet The Press, 6/28/09]

  • FactCheck.Org: Wyden-Bennett Bill Requires State Based Exchanges Like The Senate Bill And “Comes Even Closer To The Democratic Plans By Including An Individual Mandate To Buy Coverage…And Employer Requirements.” wrote, “The Ryan/Coburn bill and the Wyden/Bennett bill, which has four other Republican cosponsors, both create state-based insurance exchanges that would sell coverage that meets certain standards, just like the Senate-passed Democratic bill. (The House-passed bill sets up a national exchange, instead of state-based exchanges.) Wyden/Bennett comes even closer to the Democratic plans by including an individual mandate to buy coverage (with a tax penalty for those who don’t) and employer requirements — the bill requires businesses to pay a certain amount per employee. Under that bill, most persons would end up getting their coverage through those state-based exchanges, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis. Both of these bills say plans sold through the exchanges will be required to provide benefits similar to those offered to members of Congress and federal employees, just like the Democratic bills. The proposals also subject insurance companies to new regulations, such as not allowing insurers to discriminate on the basis of health.” [, Newsweek, 2/25/10]
  • Romney Supported A Health Care Plan That Included A Federal Individual Mandate During His 1994 Senate Campaign. “Democrats have also been pointing to comments Romney once made in which he supported a plan that included a federal individual mandate. During his 1994 US Senate campaign against the late Edward M. Kennedy, Romney said he would have backed a health care bill that had been crafted by then-Senator John Chafee, a Rhode Island Republican. That plan included a federal mandate. ‘I’m willing to vote for things that I am not wild with,’ Romney told the New Republic of the plan. That comment was resurrected yesterday by the Massachusetts-based liberal blog Blue Mass Group.” [Boston Globe, 5/12/11]


Romney: “I Believe It Is A Very Important Step To Protect Medicare...We’re Going To Have To Make Changes Like The Ones Paul Ryan Proposed.” ROMNEY: “Actually I spent a good deal of time with Congressman Ryan. When he plan came out I applauded it as a very important step. I said my plan would be a little different or would be different in some respects but that we were on the same page. This is a place where speaker Gingrich and I disagree. He called this right wing social engineering. I believe it is a very important step to protect Medicare and to protect social security we’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed.” [Romney, Cedar Rapids Town Hall, 12/9/11]

Romney Said “Yes” He Would Sign The Republican Budget. “On health care, Romney responded ‘yes’ when asked if he would sign the plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan that would restructure Medicare if it reached his desk as President, but quickly added that he would be offering his own plan.” [ABC News, 6/2/11]

  • WSJ: “The [GOP Budget] Plan Would Essentially End Medicare.” “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
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