DENVER (AP) — Claiming health care bragging rights, Mitt Romney said Thursday his plan to provide health insurance to everyone in Massachusetts was superior to the one it inspired, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
“My health care plan I put in place in my state has everyone insured, but we didn’t go out and raise taxes on people and have a unelected board tell people what kind of health care they can have,” Romney said in an interview with CBS’ Denver affiliate, KCNC.
The law signed by Romney in 2006 sought to expand health care but did not guarantee coverage for all. Romney and Massachusetts lawmakers decided that rather than reinvent the entire health care system, they would instead close a series of holes, allowing the vast majority of residents to keep their existing plans.
PPACA basically followed the same outline — a private insurance system with an expanded government safety net. But there are some important differences.
The federal law is national, and most of its important provisions are binding even in states that oppose it. Romney’s law was a state effort that enjoyed support from both political parties, and the Republican candidate argues that health care reform should remain a state prerogative.
PPACA cut Medicare payments to hospitals, insurers and other service providers. As a state law, Romney’s plan had no effect on Medicare.
Romney’s law has led to about 400,000 Massachusetts residents gaining coverage, state officials say. More than 98% of state residents are covered. Obama’s law has already led to coverage for more than 2.5 million young adults on their parents’ plans. If all of its provisions go into effect, more than 30 million uninsured people will be covered.
The Massachusetts law requires residents to have insurance, with certain exemptions.
Those who can show they earn too much to qualify for the state’s subsidized health care plan, but not enough to afford even the least expensive nonsubsidized plan, are not required to pay the so-called “individual mandate” penalty.