Romney says Romneycare led to ObamaCare

Romney says Romneycare led to ObamaCare

Mitt Romney says in a new interview that his health reform plan in Massachusetts was a necessary step toward ObamaCare and that the federal health law has given health insurance to “a lot” of people.

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Romney made the comments in an interview with The Boston Globe for an obituary of Thomas Stemberg, the cofounder of Staples who benefitted from financing from Romney’s firm, Bain Capital. 

Stemberg helped convince Romney to push for health reform as Massachusetts governor, Romney said. 

“Without Tom pushing it, I don’t think we would have had Romneycare,” Romney said. “Without Romneycare, I don’t think we would have Obamacare. So, without Tom a lot of people wouldn’t have health insurance.”

Romney’s comments are striking for their positive tone toward ObamaCare, noting that it has provided health insurance to many people. 

As the Republican nominee for president in 2012, Romney prominently vowed to repeal the national health law. 

In the Republican primary, he also went to great lengths to fend off efforts to link his health reform effort with ObamaCare. 

"Our plan was a state solution to a state problem, and [Obama’s] plan is a power grab by the federal government to put a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation,” Romney said in 2011.  

Now, Romney is openly saying that his health reform effort was in fact necessary for ObamaCare.

The Massachusetts effort is widely seen as a precursor to ObamaCare. Both laws included subsidies to help people buy private insurance, a ban on discrimination based on pre-existing health conditions, and a mandate for people to buy insurance. 

After the Globe story published, Romney responded with a statement Friday saying he is still opposed to ObamaCare. 

"Getting people health insurance is a good thing, and that’s what Tom Stemberg fought for," Romney said. "I oppose Obamacare and believe it has failed. It drove up premiums, took insurance away from people who were promised otherwise, and usurped state programs. As I said in the campaign, I'd repeal it and replace it with state-crafted plans."

- Updated at 3:08 p.m.