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.”
Romney has forcefully defended the Massachusetts law he signed, but says he is adamantly against a “one-size-fits-all national health-care system” imposed on all 50 states. “I will repeal Obamacare,” he has said. “And on day one of my administration, I will grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.”
Asked about the White House records, a Romney campaign spokeswoman responded by citing comments that Romney made last April after Obama suggested the White House had borrowed from his law in Massachusetts.
“He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan,” Romney said of Obama. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? …Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t. … I would have told him, ‘What you’re doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.'”
The White House visitor logs suggest that, if Obama officials didn’t talk directly with Romney, senior presidential aides did consult with others — like Gruber — who played important roles in helping to craft and implement the Massachusetts law.
Read the whole thing here.