Romney Insists MA Is Different. But Is It?

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Former Gov. Mitt Romney, promoting his new book and a potential candidacy for president on the talk show circuit, told Fox News that the health care industry overhaul that he presided over in Massachusetts is completely different than the plan now being promoted by President Obama, according to The Huffington Post.

The piece noted that Romney's logic was "a bit tortured:"

Romney, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," defended the universal health care system he put into place as governor as the "ultimate conservative plan," the "ultimate pro-life effort" and one that is "working well." But the Massachusetts Republican seemed incredulous that Obama would think of doing similar reform on the federal level.

"This is a federalist nation. States should be able to solve their own problems," he said.

Romney refused to acknowledge that his plan was similar to Obama's. Though, as host Chris Wallace point out, on many key measures — an individual and employer mandate, subsidies for those who would have trouble buying insurance, and minimum standards for coverage — the two plans converged. The likely 2012 presidential candidate pointed out that the president's plan included cuts to Medicare and additional taxes. But both of those measures are designed, in part, to provide funds to keep per capita spending down — something that the Massachusetts plan failed to do. Finally, Romney touted the fact that his plan included "no controls over insurance premiums, price controls," which provides some explanation for why premiums in the Bay State are the highest in the nation.

"It is the difference between a racehorse and a donkey if you will. They both have four legs," Romney said. "But one works pretty well and the other is not working and would not work at all."

Frankly, it seems to me like there's an awful lot of overlap in the two plans. But it may not much matter in the end, if Obama fails to pull off health reform at all, a scenerio Frank Rich fretted about eloquently in yesterday's New York Times.

This program aired on March 8, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.