In a post a couple days ago I noted the fact that the progressive “health care experts” Mitt Romney consulted to help craft his signature accomplishment as Governor of Massachusetts, RomneyCare, had been consulted at least a dozen times by Obama to craft his signature accomplishment, ObamaCare. Curiously, this information was released on the day of a Republican presidential debate. This fortuitous timing, one would think, should have been an irresistible opportunity for other would-be nominees to ingratiate themselves to a GOP primary electorate looking for someone, anyone, to rescue conservatives from the horrifying prospect of Mr. 25% as the Republican nominee. Romney needn’t have worried, though, since none of the alleged “conservative” candidates purporting to challenge Romney even bothered to bring this up Tuesday night. Apparently these geniuses believe that remaining mired in single digits is the best way to win the nomination. Either that or, more likely, winning the nomination isn’t really their goal. I digress.
Since the commencement of Mandate Mitt’s recent attempt to recast himself as a conservative, he’s gone out of his way to minimize the role of liberal MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was one of Romney’s key advisors on the healthcare mandate central to RomneyCare and, I hasten to add, ObamaCare. Gruber, evidently not amused by Mitt’s latest dissembling, was more than happy to go on MSNBC to discuss RomneyCare’s relationship to ObamaCare. If you can get past the always-annoying Lawrence O’Donnell, it’s an interesting interview to say the least. Via Real Clear Politics:
Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host: “Alright, come on. Come clean. You were in the room with President Obama discussing healthcare reform and you did in fact work with the Romney administration in Massachusetts. Come on Professor, you’ve got to tell us the truth.”
Jonathan Gruber, MIT professor: “The truth is that the Affordable Care Act is essentially based on what we accomplished in Massachusetts. It’s the same basic structure applied nationally. John McDonough, one of the other advisers,who work in both Massachusetts and advised the White House said ‘it’s the Massachusetts with three more zeros.’ And that’s basically a good description of what the federal bill did.”
Gruber says Massachusetts received some federal funding for Romney’s healthcare reform, meaning all U.S. taxpayers chipped in to fund RomneyCare.
O’Donnell: “And Massachusetts had a pretty good rate of coverage before you even went to the mandate. Romney makes a very strong point about the Obama bill is full of taxes to pay for it and the Romney bill did not have tax increases in it to pay for it.”
Gruber: “Yeah, that is just technically true but intellectually not really straight forward. Basically, in Massachusetts, the financial for our bill came half from the federal government and half from an existing tax that former Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis had put in, in 1988 to finance care for the uninsured. You see, we didn’t have to raise taxes in Massachusetts because money was already there. At the federal level we didn’t have that luxury. It wasn’t like China was going to come and pay half the cost of the Affordable Care Act. There was no bigger government coming to help us out. And so we need to raise taxes so we can finance it.”
There is much more to the interview, including video of Romney explicitly praising Gruber on the day he signed RomneyCare into law. Click the image below to watch:
Update: In the comments, TexasRayGunner reminds us that a certain politician in Romney’s camp, who’s supposedly known for telling it like it is, insisted that it’s “completely intellectually dishonest” to compare RomneyCare to ObamaCare. Er, really?