In a development that could have ramifications for the 2012 presidential race, Jon Kingsdale, the man who Mitt Romney appointed to help implement the Massachusetts health care plan, has stepped down. Though Kingsdale hasn’t announced where he’s moving to, a spokesman for his agency tells the Boston Globe that he will be “exploring opportunities to help with national health care reform.”
What does this all have to do with 2012?
Well, Kingsdale was appointed by the Romney administration in 2006, and tasked with running the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which operates the state exchange on which Massachusetts citizens can use government subsidies to purchase government-designed insurance plans. This is the same basic infrastructure that Democrats just created at the national level, and Obama himself has repeatedly tied the two plans together in the past few weeks.
“I keep on scratching my head and I say, boy, this Massachusetts thing, who designed that?” the president joked at a recent fundraiser.
As it is, Romney has struggled to draw meaningful distinctions between his plan and Obama’s. But if Obama were to snap up Kingsdale to work on implementing the federal health care law, it would make Romney’s task even more difficult. Imagine a debate in which Romney tries to attack the national health care law. Obama could respond, “Not only are the two plans quite similar, but I appointed the same man who Romney himself appointed to run the health care program he created in Massachusetts.”