White House Consulted With Romney Advisers on ObamaCare

Here's what Mitt Romney thinks of ObamaCare: It's a "power grab by the federal government" that amounts to a "government takeover of healthcare." It not only proves that the folks running Obama administration distrust states, it proves that they are so anti-federalist in mindset that they "fundamentally [don't] believe in the American experiment."

When pressed on the White House's oft-repeated claim that ObamaCare was inspired by RomneyCare, the similarly structured state-based health care reform that Romney signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, has retorted that “[Obama] does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan. If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me?”

Obama may not have called Romney. But according to NBC News, he did call the top policy advisers responsible for helping Romney design and implement the law. 

Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as “Obamacare.” 

The records, gleaned from White House visitor logs reviewed by NBC News, show that senior White House officials had a dozen meetings in 2009 with three health-care advisers and experts who helped shape the health care reform law signed by Romney in 2006, when the Republican presidential candidate was governor of Massachusetts. One of those meetings, on July 20, 2009, was in the Oval Office and presided over by President Barack Obama, the records show. 

“The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts,” said Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney administration on health care and who attended five meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the president. “They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model.”

...Another Romney administration adviser consulted by the White House was Jon Kingsdale, a health-care expert who was appointed in 2006 by one of Romney’s Cabinet secretaries, Thomas Trimarco, to serve as executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority — the state agency charged with implementing the new Massachusetts health-care law.

To some extent, this doesn't tell us much we didn't already know. Gruber, a prominent health wonk and a longtime backer of the regulate/subsidize/mandate approach employed by both RomneyCare and ObamaCare, was paid nearly $400,000 in consulting fees to help the Obama administration model the law's health insurance effects. Kingsdale left his post running the Massachusetts insurance exchange in 2010 and has since co-founded a health care consulting firm. A bio published by the firm notes that since leaving the Massachusetts job he's "consulted to the White House" on the health care overhaul generally and insurance exchange implementation in specific. 

It's been clear for a while that the White House has been relying on several of Romney's advisers to help implement ObamaCare. But this report makes the link between the two laws even more explicit, and will probably make it harder for Romney to pretend the connection doesn't exist

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  • Lord Humungus||

    paid nearly $400,000 in consulting fees

    I obviously got into the wrong business.

  • ||

    Romney is disqualified from holding national office by the mere fact that he is so arrogant that he didn't think this would come out and doom any chance he had at the nomination.

  • ||

    Do you really think David Frum's recent article about how TEAM RED should forget about "repeal and replace" and just do what Deval Patrick has done with MassCare and make it even more of a disastrous boondoggle than it already is?

    Link to Micheal F. Cannon's take:

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org.....nt-get-it/

  • ||

    My Frum is an idiot. Him and Mickey Klaus just cannot get over their love of the government controlling everyone's health care. They really are deadenders.

  • fish||

    My Frum is an idiot. Him and Mickey Klaus just cannot get over their love of the government controlling everyone 's health care. They really are deadenders.

    FIFY

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Right you are. He is in the wrong party to pull something like that and get away with it.

  • ||

    In your dreams, John. This is a non-story, and the Perry smear machine is going to have to work hard to make this "doom" his chances.

  • ||

    In yours and David Frum's dream. The GOP is not going to vote for the guy who invented Obamacare. Forget it. He is not going to win. People will coalesce around one candidate to ensure that he doesn't get the nomination.

  • ||

    Romney didn't invent OC. Smear, smear, smear away.

    The GOP is already aware of the similarities between MassCare and ObamaCare, and Romney is still leading the polls. Cain is going to wither once he has the spotlight on him.

  • ||

    Is it a smear or is it old news? It can't be both. It is not a smear. Romney came up with the blue print that was followed for Obamacare. It has been a complete disaster in Mass. And the arrogant bastard won't even admit he was wrong. He is not winning. And not all the polls have him up.

  • ||

    Right, if it hadn't been for Romney, the Dems never would have tried to implement a universal health care plan. He was probably behind HillaryCare too, the reprobate.

    Oh, and the "old news" is that RomneyCare was superficially similar to ObamaCare. The "smear" is that Romney somehow caused ObamaCare to happen.

  • ||

    No one is saying he "caused it to happen". That is a straw man on your part. What they are saying is that he supported and continues to support a plan that is nearly identical to Obamacare and thus has no standing to call for Obamacare's repeal and can't be trusted with power.

  • ||

    "invented" = "caused to happen"

  • ||

    Wow, it's almost like there's a limited pool of health care experts to draw from if you're implementing a universal health care scheme.

    Reason has written about, and interviewed Milton Friedman, who also advised Chilean dictators who dropped dissenters out of airplanes. Therefore Reason supports dropping dissenters out of airplanes.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Wow, that's a terrible analogy.

  • ||

    It's an especially terrible analogy given that Milton Friedman never advised any Chilean dictators at all, though he did agree to meet Pinochet one time.

    And I believe it was the Argentinian dictators who dropped dissenters out of airplanes.

  • ||

    The analogy may not have been the greatest, but it shouldn't be necessary. That no one else among the smrt people here has pointed out this weakness in Reason's argument is shameful.

  • ||

    The argument is weak; it doesn't mean the premise isn't true.

  • ||

    And implimenting a universal health care scheme makes you a D E M O C R A T. Romney is a joke. He is not going to win.

  • Tony||

    It's like Republicans are born anew every election season. The fact is, it wasn't always controversial for even a Republican to support healthcare reform. It was once acknowledged by everyone that our system is seriously problematic.

    What changed? A Democratic president got his plan through, and therefore healthcare reform, even though it was the Heritage Foundation plan--the Romney plan, the Republican plan--it must now be considered evil.

    What a strange litmus test you guys have. You must be for the healthcare status quo, or you're unfit to lead the party?

  • ||

    When was Obamacare the Republican plan? As soon as you send a link showing the Republican caucus backed a plan that imposed payroll taxes on investment income, included an individual mandate, and counted $80 billion in deficit reduction through CLASS, we'll know you are not just making stuff up.

  • Tony||

    There was a GOP attempt made in 1994:

    Link that compares it to Obamacare.

    The individual mandate has always been a Republican idea, because they would do what the insurance industry wants (forcing people to buy their products). It is NOT and never has been the preferred liberal solution.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The individual mandate has always been a Republican idea, because they would do what the insurance industry wants (forcing people to buy their products). It is NOT and never has been the preferred liberal solution.

    Except when they passed it.

  • ||

    From the oh so conservative WaPo

    Our research in the ensuing two decades has led us to realize our initial idea was operationally ineffective and legally defective. Well before Obama was elected, we dropped it. In the spring 2008 edition of the Harvard Health Policy Review, I advanced far better alternatives to the individual mandate to expand coverage, relying on positive tax incentives and other mechanisms to facilitate enrollment in private health insurance. This is what researchers and fact-based policymakers do when they discover new facts or conduct deeper analysis.

    I notice you aren't pointing this out, Tony.

  • Tony||

    Okay perhaps I'm being unfair to the Heritage Foundation. I'll take them at their word.

    However, the only reason the individual mandate is in the Obama law is because it was required to get buy-in from the health insurance industry.

    The liberal solution has always been single-payer (whittled down to a "public option" that still didn't pass). The important point is that blaming the individual mandate on freedom killing liberals is to be seriously confused.

  • ||

    This is like saying don't blame me for the alien and sedition act, my real goal was to repeal the first amendment altogether.

  • ||

    When was Obamacare the Republican plan?

    The moment that BUSH!!11one1!one started drafting it.

  • ||

    Wow, it's almost like there's a limited pool of health care experts to draw from if you're implementing a universal health care scheme.

    I suppose this is true, in the same sense there are only "so many" creationists to draw from if you want that to be the backbone of your national science curriculum.

  • ||

    +100 And there are only so many doctrinaire Marxists to draw on to create your new society.

  • ||

    If you have a problem with MassCare, then I respect that. My beef is that Reason and the rest of the media is hyping up this story which really tells us nothing new.

  • ||

    I thought it was a smear. Now it is true but old news. Why do flack for this dirtbag so much?

  • ||

    The smear is that Romney was somehow responsible for ObamaCare coming into existence. Which you repeat above.

    The truth, that RomneyCare and ObamaCare are superficially similar, is old news.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Romney must heart red-light cameras.

  • ||

    Do you have any substance to contribute or are you a full-time clown now?

  • Mr. Mark||

    You know, there's no need to call on the likes of Romney & Friends for advice on screwing up a national economy. I'll do it for half-price, and if you call in the next 10 minutes, you'll also get...

  • ||

    I would think that libertarians, of all people, would understand the difference between implementing a popular health care plan in one state and implementing an unpopular health care plan nationwide. I guess I think wrong.

  • Tony||

    Romney doesn't understand:

    "In Massachusetts, I was able to put in place a plan that helped get health insurance premiums down, and gets all of our citizens insured. If we can do that nationally, we help ... the entire nation."

    --Mitt Romney

    “One thing I’d never do is impose a state’s plan on the entire nation, that makes no sense. I’ll repeal Obamacare.”

    --Mitt Romney

  • ||

    Jesus even Tony understands what a joke Romney is.

  • Tony||

    Don't get me wrong, I prefer a pandering void of a human being to a pandering theocrat with "principles" any day. Seems like the joke is on the entire GOP field.

  • fish||

    I prefer a pandering void of a human being....

    Like looking in the mirror every time you see the president then.

  • ||

    Dates, sources? I know those are frowned upon in smear-land but this once was a reputable establishment.

  • ||

    Yeah, didn't think so. John is so desperate on this subject he's lapping up whatever verbal diarrhea Tony puts out there.

  • cynical||

    Libertarians understand that there is a difference between federalism and libertarianism -- that while federalism may help indirectly serve libertarian ends by rewarding states that adopt libertarian policies and by making it easier for people to escape oppression and abuse, states are just much governments as the feds.

    Libertarians also understand the distinction between populism and libertarianism, and that taking away individual freedom is often popular.

  • ||

    If, by "popular" you mean "disastrous"...

    If you are looking for somebody to reverse-engineer an argument to support your previously determined conclusion, you definitely have a smaller pool of "experts" to draw from than if you start by asking, "Is this a good idea?"

  • ||

    No, by "popular" I mean "supported by the vast majority of the citizens of the jurisdiction in which it would go into force". Am I speaking Swahili here?

    You don't like RomneyCare. We get that. (I don't like it either)

    That doesn't mean it's the same as ObamaCare.

  • ||

    How is it any different other than it was at the state level? Is the state mandating you buy insurance somehow a better than the Feds?

    My inlaw live in Mass. The program has been a disaster. It has raised health care insurance premiums and cost a fortune. And that rat bastard won't admit he was wrong. What the hell kind of ego maniac won't ever admit he was wrong? Romney has no business near power. I will vote libertarian of stay home before I vote for him. I am not alone. He will never be President, ever.

    He is the most unelectable candidate. At least 20 to 30% of the Republican base will never vote for him. That is a solid 12 to 15% of the country that is off the table right there. Forget, he can't win.

  • ||

    When the alternative is Barack Obama, something tells me that most of the Republican base will turn out to vote for whoever wins the nomination.

  • ||

    Not if it is Romney. If the Republican establishment sends the finger to its base by nominating him, they won't turn out. And the party and the country would be better off with big Republican majorities in Congress and an imploding second Obama administration than with Romney.

  • ||

    Imploding? Dude, the second term is when the stimulus will kick in, don't you know that?

  • ||

    LOL. Even good and great Presidents have flamed out during a second term. The only bad President who ever got a second term was Nixon. And we saw how that turned out. A second Obama administration might finally kill the Democratic Party once and for all.

  • fish||

    That's why the repubs are probably happy that they have this "Pantheon of Losers" as possible contenders. Why would you want to inherit the next 4 years? Plan on picking up the shattered remnants in 2016!

  • ||

    And the party and the country would be better off with big Republican majorities in Congress and an imploding second Obama administration than with Romney.

    By your logic, the longer the Dems are in complete control of the country, the better because we can blame more shit on them. I mean, if it's good for the GOP to not win something in 2016, then it's even better if they don't win the WH back until 2048, right?

    I repeat: do you want Barack Obama to be choosing replacements for Scalia and Kennedy on SCOTUS?

  • ||

    How is it any different other than it was at the state level? Is the state mandating you buy insurance somehow a better than the Feds?

    Of course it is. A state doing it is consistent with the Constitution and consistent with federalism. It's not a good idea from a libertarian doctrinal standpoint, but it's certainly FAR less bad than the feds doing it.

    And if your complaint is merely that Romney's thing was similar to Obama's, then this story is irrelevant to your complaint. This story is a fucking smear job trying to tie Romney directly to ObamaCare.

  • ||

    Sure it is constitutional. But that doesn't make it any better of an idea. And it is not a smear to say they are virtually the same plan and both Romney and Obama relied on the same healthcare wonks.

    To say it is somehow different at the state level is to beg the question of whether it was a good idea. It clearly wasn't.

  • ||

    It's a bad idea at the state level.

    It's an illegal and unconstitutional idea at the federal level.

  • Joe Zilch||

    I like the Hubris of "Why didn't he call me". It conjures up the notion that Romney had anything to do with writing the actual legislation.

    Let's be serious here, Romney might have backed the legislation. He might have liked it. He might have even had an idea or two about what he wanted but this was entirely put together, written and packaged by a team of lobbyists and lawyers, as is all legislation.

    He simply doesn't have the time or know-how to write legislation. He probably didn't even read it before signing it, rather just took an aide's word for what it did.

    So the administration was spot on in hiring his lackeys to work with them on Obamacare.

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