There are a couple of things I did not know, much as that might shock you. First, I didn’t know that the Governor of Massachusetts enjoys a line-item veto. Second, to paraphrase a line from the under-appreciated Simon: The RomneyCare that came back from the Assembly is not the same RomneyCare the Governor signed.
I’m not saying it’s a good law — it isn’t. But there are things about it which, if Mitt Romney had campaigned on, he might have sewn up his nomination much sooner. From Forbes:
Just prior to the [RomneyCare signing] ceremony, Romney’s aides had announced that the Governor would be vetoing several key provisions of the bill, including its employer mandate that forced all companies in the state, employing more than 10 people, to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a $295-per-person fine. Romney vetoed several other provisions of the law, including one that extended dental benefits to Medicaid patients, and another that gave certain “special status aliens” the ability to receive Medicaid benefits.
Democrats maintained their smiles on-stage, but back-stage, they fumed. Forcing employers to provide health coverage to their workers was a key component of their agenda. “I’m not happy about what he did,” House Speaker Sal DiMasi told the Boston Globe. Romney, on the other hand, considered the employer mandate to be “unnecessary and probably counterproductive.”
In the end, it didn’t matter what Romney thought about the employer mandate. The Democrats controlled 85 percent of the legislature. After the bill-signing ceremony was over, they went back to the State House and overrode each of Romney’s eight vetoes.
Once enacted, the real gutting began:
ore crucially, as Jennifer Heldt Powell and Josh Archambault describe in a new book, The Great Experiment, it was Democrats and progressive activists who ended up implementing the Massachusetts health law, especially after Romney left office in January 2007. They took the law in a much different direction than Romney would have liked. And while Democrats have sought to credit (or blame) Romney for the passage of Obamacare, it is more accurate to say that the federal Affordable Care Act is modeled after the Democratically implemented version of the Massachusetts law, as opposed to the one that Romney had sought.
Read the whole thing. The mystery is, why I had to read about this in Forbes in April, when it should have been the centerpiece of Romney’s campaign last August.
Maybe they should start calling it PatriCare. Nah — that’s no way to dispirit the GOP base.