A video posted by President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign provides further evidence that the 2006 Massachusetts healthcare reform law signed by then-Governor Mitt Romney was the prototype for the 2010 federal law signed by President Obama. But the video does more than just reaffirm that Romney is an unprincipled flip-flopper: It also offers a glimpse into the socialist origins of both Romneycare and ObamaCare.
The Obama campaign posted the video (see below), fittingly titled “The Anniversary of Romneycare,” on YouTube on April 12, 2012, six years to the day after Romney signed the Massachusetts bill into law with a huge ceremony attended by dignitaries including the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and a large contingent of local and national media.
“Romney’s people built a stage on top of the stage so that the event would project better for the assembled national media,” Harvard School of Public Health professor John McDonough says in the video.
McDonough should know. As he explains in the video, “I helped craft and pass Massachusetts’ health reform in 2006 and the Affordable Care Act in 2010.” He assisted with Romneycare as the executive director of Health Care for All, a Massachusetts consumer health advocacy organization. By the time ObamaCare was being drafted, McDonough was serving as a health policy adviser to Kennedy.
“Mitt Romney,” McDonough asserts in the video, “had this belief that this was going to be his ticket to national fame and glory.”
In the years following the big signing ceremony Romney repeatedly urged the federal government to take Romneycare nationwide. At least twice in 2007 he stated that the Massachusetts law would serve as a “model for the nation.” In 2008, asked by ABC’s Charles Gibson if he hadn’t “backed away from mandates on a national basis,” Romney replied, “No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.” In 2009, he said Obama should be looking to the Massachusetts plan as “a model for getting everyone insured.”
Heeding the governor’s advice, Obama consulted former Romney advisors when putting together the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). One of them, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, states in the video that he worked on both Romneycare and ObamaCare and that “the core” of the two laws is “identical.” Now he’s stunned that Romney is backing away from what Gruber considers a “brilliant achievement” simply “because it was from the other party.”
As Madelyn Rhenisch — who, as the first enrollee in a core health plan under Romneycare, was invited to the health plan initiation ceremony with Romney — put it in the video: “When I hear Governor Romney talking about repealing ObamaCare, I just think he’s jumping to a political position where the issue isn’t healthcare, it’s getting elected.”
While the video paints a devastating portrait of a politician who will say whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear, it also “puts Obamacare into the context of socialist plans to remake the U.S. economy and reduce the influence of the private sector,” in the words of Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media.
The key to this is McDonough’s appearance in the video and the fact that he did indeed participate in the crafting of both Romneycare and ObamaCare. McDonough, reports blogger Trevor Loudon, is a former chairman of the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which describes itself as “the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.” Moreover, while McDonough claimed in an interview with Kincaid that he left the DSA “in 1982 or 1983,” a 2005 Boston DSA newsletter states that McDonough was one of “three speakers [who] are long time advocates of universal health care” appearing at a chapter event that year.
“I have never described myself as a Marxist or even a Socialist,” McDonough told Kincaid. He is merely, he explained, “a social democrat in the progressive tradition” — a socialist by another name.
Being an advocate of universal (i.e., government-run) healthcare puts McDonough squarely in the mainstream of DSA thought. “D.S.A. has long campaigned for ‘single payer,’ or socialized healthcare as its major policy platform,” Loudon observes. “It has worked for more than thirty years towards its goal of socialized health care at both state and federal levels, enlisting the support of its allies in Congress and the Senate along the way.”
Loudon cites an article in a 1994 issue of Democratic Left by Steve Tarzynski, former chairman of the DSA National Political Committee and chairman of the DSA National Health Care Task Force, which stated that “DSA decided to make support for a single-payer Canadian-style health care system our major issue.”
“DSA members have served on the Clinton Health Care Task Force and in the leadership and rank and file of national and state single-payer coalitions,” wrote Tarzynski.
“Democratic socialists should project a vision of a moral society based on freedom, equality, and solidarity,” according to Tarzynski. “We must also understand that reaching such a goal involves a gradual approach over a long period of years, with each reform becoming the foundation for the next.” (Emphasis added.)
Romneycare, followed by ObamaCare, may therefore represent the next steps in the “gradual approach.”
The Massachusetts legislature that passed Romneycare was “full of DSA members and supporters,” Loudon told Kincaid. “Romney wanted some reform and tried to do it through a conservative approach and it ended up being a compromise. The DSA won and Romney took credit for it.”
Indeed, McDonough told Kincaid that Romney would now play down McDonough’s role in the Massachusetts legislation because he “helped push Massachusetts health reform in a much more progressive direction than Romney wanted.”
At the national level, of course, the ascension of Barack Obama to the presidency helped the cause of socialized medicine immensely. Prior to running for national office, Obama had long advocated a single-payer national healthcare system (he later tempered that by saying it wasn’t “feasible” given the current state of the U.S. healthcare system). This, Loudon avers, comes as “no surprise” because Obama’s longtime “personal physician and political mentor,” Dr. Quentin Young, a member of the DSA and a supporter of the Communist Party USA, “has been agitating for more than 40 years for socialized healthcare.” (Loudon has documented many more socialist and communist connections to Obama on his website and in his book Barack Obama and the Enemies Within.)
When the opportunity presented itself, Obama turned to a seemingly more feasible approach: taking Romneycare national. With the aid of “former” DSA leader McDonough and DSA sympathizer Obama, the socialists’ Massachusetts law became the United States’ national law. And when ObamaCare fails to control costs — as Romneycare has already failed to do in the Bay State — the next logical step will be a complete government takeover of healthcare.
Would electing Romney — “the one person who deserves the most credit for” ObamaCare, according to Gruber — save us from this fate? Despite Romney’s promises to repeal ObamaCare, Loudon isn’t so sure. After all, Romney has said not merely that he will “repeal” ObamaCare but that he will “replace” it. “Obamacare will be replaced with something else,” if Romney wins, Loudon told Kincaid. “And that is where the devil is in the details — a free market approach or watered down Obamacare?”