I missed the Romney policy conference call today but this account paraphrases his Policy Director as saying “The only similarity between the Hillary plan and the Massachusetts plan is that they both use the words ‘individual mandate.'”
Well, aside from the words they both really did include individual mandates, right? Yes, they use the same term, were crafted by the same advisor(Jonathan Gruber of MIT) and involve the same path of coercisve enforcement and government drafted insurance policy requirements. Wouldn’t he have been better off saying he learned his lesson the hard way and now understands why a pure market based plan is better? (In essence that is what he did from a policy standpoint.) Continuing to defend his RomneyCare plan by this type of rhetorical smoke and mirrors suggests the Romney team is banking on the fact that the public has a limited amount of patience for figuring out the details of the two plans. However, once Romney’s opponents start making this comparison directly this type of misdirection may be less effective.
UPDATE: The Washington Post chimes in with an interview with Mr. Gruber who says that HillaryCare and Romney’s CommonWealth Care (both of which he helped develop) are “very, very similar.” Gruber continues: “Romney deserves the credit for what he did in Massachusetts. He provided the intellectual leadership for much of what is going on. He should be basking in his glory and instead he’s running away from it, and I’m very disappointed.”
Romney should indeed be credited with popularizing the type of plan Hillary now presents.