Obamaneycare: Trotskyite Takeover or Big Company Bail out?

Mike Miliard | Government Health IT | June 15, 2012

It's almost too perfect. Of all the GOP candidates President Barack Obama could possibly face in the 2012 election, he's been matched against Mitt Romney. As presidential opponents tend to be, Romney and Obama are on opposite sides of nearly every policy issue – not least, if only ostensibly, healthcare.

Except for one uncomfortable fact. Obamacare – the "Crown Jewel of Socialism" (in Michele Bachmann's famous turn of phrase), which has been decried by many on the right as nothing short of socioeconomic Armageddon – is based almost exactly on the healthcare law Romney spearheaded as governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

It's an ironic and vexing state of affairs. A fact that Romney has tried to deflect, deny and otherwise shy away from thus far on the campaign trail. For that precise reason, of course, it's a fact Obama has been all to happy to highlight – never missing a chance to tweak Romney with reminders of his former self. In April, for instance, on the sixth anniversary of the Bay State's healthcare reform law, the Obama camp released an ad spotlighting the many things the two laws have in common.

So how similar are Obamacare and Romneycare? Short answer: Very. The two laws share the same philosophy of near-universal coverage and the same basic "three-legged stool" structure: 1) disallowing discrimination by payers; 2) mandating that people purchase coverage; and 3) subsidizing that coverage for those who can't afford it. And not only that. Both laws were designed and drawn up by some of the same economists and health policy experts, such as Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at MIT...