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Discussing the Affordable Care Act with right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt in March, Mitt Romney declared, "If I'm the godfather of this thing, then it gives me the right to kill it."  But the former Massachusetts governor isn't merely promising to "kill it dead" at the national level. As it turns out, Romney's plan for draconian cuts to Medicaid would strangle the popular and successful program he put in place in Massachusetts, the one he once touted as "a model for getting everybody insured."

By most measures, Governor Romney's signature 2006 health care law has been a tremendous success.  Enjoying the consistent support of Bay State residents by a 2 to 1 margin, the bill Governor Mitt Romney signed into law lowered the uninsured rate from 12.5 percent to a national low of two percent.  In March, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) showed that universal coverage in Massachusetts is indeed making people there healthier.  Meanwhile, the rate of growth for business and individual insurance premiums has slowed dramatically, a trend state regulators this week announced will result in only a 1.2% increase.

But as the Boston Globe reported today, what Governor Romney giveth, President Romney would taketh away.

Like his new GOP twin in Congress Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has proposed steep cuts to Medicaid spending and pledged to hand-over the shrunken pool of funds as block grants to the states.  And it is precisely that formula that would smother his once-beloved Romneycare in its cradle.  As the Globe documented, President Romney "would probably cripple the Massachusetts health care law":

"It would have been impossible for Massachusetts to do what it did without increased federal Medicaid support,'' said John McDonough, a major architect of the state's health care overhaul law and now director of Harvard University's Center for Public Health Leadership.

"What he's proposing is in direct opposition to what he did as governor,'' said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All in Massachusetts, citing the Bay State's 98 percent coverage rate, the highest in the nation. "That kind of expansion would not have been possible under a block grant program,'' as Romney has proposed. Block grants give states more flexibility in spending federal money, but restrict funding increases.

As ThinkProgress explained, Romney in the past had been very up front about the crucial role federal funding - and flexibility - played in making his signature achievement possible:
"[F]rom the beginning the plan was a 50/50 deal between the federal government and the state government. The Feds fund half of it, they have from the very beginning." The Boston Globe notes that "approximately 56 percent of the gain in coverage was related to increased federal Medicaid support" in Massachusetts, and of the newly insured, "18 percent gained coverage through Medicaid, and another 38 percent gained coverage through Commonwealth Care, a program that federal Medicaid dollars pay half of."
But like the new insurance coverage for 30 million Americans nationwide under the Affordable Care Act, the gains in Massachusetts would be a thing of the past under a Romney administration in Washington.  Projections from the Congressional Budget Office suggest that 48 million more people would be uninsured under Paul Ryan's House GOP budget, a scheme similar to Romney's.  That figure would include hundreds of thousands in the state Romney once governed.

And where on the issue of health care reform at least, MIT professor and Obamacare/Romneycare designer Jonathan Gruber insisted in 2007, Romney governed well:

"He was incredibly impressive, with his intellect, his ability. If there is anything that qualifies him to be President of the United States, it is his leadership on this issue."
Four years later, Jonathan Gruber reached a much different conclusion about Mitt Romney, or at least this version of him. The difference between his own Boston bill and what Romney calls Obamacare?
"Zero difference," he said. "This is, to my mind, the most blatantly obvious case of politics trumping policy I've ever seen in my life. Because this is an idea, that four or five years ago, Republicans were touting. A guy from the Heritage Foundation spoke at the bill signing in Massachusetts about how good this bill was."

He credited Mitt Romney for not totally disavowing the Massachusetts bill during his presidential campaign, but said Romney's attempt to distinguish between Obama's bill and his own is disingenuous.

"The problem is there is no way to say that," Gruber said. "Because they're the same f--king bill. He just can't have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it's the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying. The only big difference is he didn't have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes."

Now in 2012, Romney has abandoned his Massachusetts "model" for America and threatens its slow death by his own hand.  If snuffing out his bastard love child doesn't make him a godfather of another kind, it does make Mitt Romney a deadbeat dad.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

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Comment Preferences

  •  rec'ed for the title! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, voracious

    you don't need to read my comments. this is not the sigline you're looking for. Move along.

    by bubbanomics on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:07:22 AM PDT

  •  I was lucky to be able to attend the Outlook 2012 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, FiredUpInCA

    conference in San Jose yesterday and Bill Clinton spoke about this. He said that the saddest thing about Mitt Romney's candidacy is that this was his greatest accomplishment and he can't take credit for it.

    And I was thinking as I listened to all of the great speakers about how they compared to the speakers at  conservative events who tear down Democrats in insane manners. Yesterday everyone spoke about moving America forward and did not address Republicans at all. And then I thought about former Democratic presidents like Carter and Clinton who go on to do great things in the world when their presidencies are over and about Republican presidents who go back to their ranches to clear brush.


    by voracious on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:25:22 AM PDT

  •  funny, I don't think my godfather (0+ / 0-)

    has the right to kill me.  

    And funny how even in acknowledging Romneycare he removes himself as sperm donor to take on a ceremonial role.  Mitt really can't accept responsibility and accountabilty for anything.  A perfect Republican personality, perceived victimhood, total lack of personal responsibility and total lack of empathy coupled with overwhelming ego.

    Rmoney is his money and the upper class he represents money and we should thank them for the right to die in the streets considering someone will have to remove the bodies.

  •  Mitt Romney is so transparently venal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in his search for votes and money and in his willingness to jettison any position he has ever held that it makes him completely unfit for the Presidency, in my opinion.

    I'm actually wondering why the frothy conservatives don't embrace him more fully as he has proven himself to be EXACTLY the guy Grover Norquist announced they were looking for: an auto pen as opposed to a leader. Mitt IS that guy.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:37:47 AM PDT

    •  Perfect assessment (0+ / 0-)
      He has proven himself to be EXACTLY the guy Grover Norquist announced they were looking for: an auto pen as opposed to a leader. Mitt IS that guy.

      “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction... but everything else requires time." - First Lady Michelle Obama

      by FiredUpInCA on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:57:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, something to consider when the New Austerity (0+ / 0-)

    is implemented - a Body Removal Tax for the poor. But, wait, we can't have new taxes . . .

    A "Toe Tag User Fee"! That'll work.

    Someone send Scott Walker a memo.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:43:19 AM PDT

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