The Obama for America reelection campaign Thursday released a video celebrating the sixth anniversary of the Massachusetts healthcare-reform law championed by then-Governor Mitt Romney. The video revels in irony, a low-key soundtrack tinkling beneath footage of Romney proudly presenting the bill atop an enormous custom-built riser. Romney’s advisors recall candidly how the governor believed the law would catapult him as a statesman onto the national stage.
The video features interviews with John McDonough and Jonathan Gruber, the architect and lead consultant respectively on Romney’s 2006 plan. Both men went on to help craft the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 that has been decried as a socialist debacle by Romney and most Republicans in the country since it passed.
Romney has vigorously opposed the federal Affordable Care Act on the stump, saying that applying the approach he took in Massachusetts on a national scale goes against the free market and strains Constitutional law. He has vowed to repeal the law if he is elected president.
Yet, McDonough and Gruber talk about how proud the governor was of the Massachusetts version.
“[It] was going to be Mitt Romney’s central accomplishment that he would use on the national stage running for president,” Gruber said. “He believed this was going to be his ticket to national fame and glory.”
The anniversary comes just as Romney has gathered enough delegates in the GOP primary to effectively assure he will be the party’s nominee for the general election. His main rival, social conservative Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign on Wednesday.
The Obama campaign surely has been planning its ironic celebration of “Romneycare” for some time, seeing it as a way to highlight criticism of Romney as an unprincipled and pandering politician.
“Governor Romney said he wanted [the Massachusetts plan] to serve as a national model for health care reform,” the campaign wrote in a release accompanying the video. “And it did: Massachusetts health care reform served as the model for the Affordable Care Act. Mitt Romney even included an individual mandate in his health care reform plan.
“Now that Romney is running for president, apparently he doesn’t believe in taking on rising health care costs or providing affordable accessible health care to all Americans. He advocates letting insurance companies go back to dropping Americans’ coverage when they get sick, discriminating against those with preexisting conditions, and making women pay more for their health care.”
Conservative Republicans have long warned against a Romney nomination precisely because they believe his having championed healthcare reform in Massachusetts would undercut one of the main arguments on the right for replacing Obama.