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Romney’s RomneyCare problem just won’t quit

Poor Mitt Romney, just can’t live down his greatest accomplishment.

Poor Mitt Romney, just can’t live down his greatest accomplishment.

I know, things are blowing his way, at the moment, SuperTuesday-wise. And when he has the nomination locked up and can start drifting back to the center perhaps he can drop his long, tortured and ultimately hopeless effort to disentangle himself  from his paternity of the Massachusetts universal health care bill that he signed into law and that his former rival (now supporter) Tim Pawlenty once dubbed ObamneyCare.

Meanwhile, over the last few days, Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski scrounged up yet more evidence of both the similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare, but also of the fact that during 2009, Romney repeatedly urged Obama to model the national plan on the Massachusetts law.

First Kaczynski dredged up this 2009 USA Today op-ed, signed by Romney urging Obama to follow the Massachusetts model, especially including the hated individual mandate. From the op-ed:

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“Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.”

(Note that “tax penalty” bit. In order to avoid imposing a “fine” on those who try to free-ride, RomneyCare disguised the fine by calling it a “tax penalty.” Obama used the same device, which will be important when the constitutional challenge to the mandate comes before the Supreme Court.)

Then this morning, Kaczynski posted three videos of Romney on TV in 2009 urging Obama to follow the RomneyCare model. If you watch the clips, you’ll note that Romney’s main criticism of the Obama bill that was then still taking shape in Congress was that it was still expected to have a “public option,” which Romney said would lead to socialized medicine. Well, much to the disappointment of many liberals, Obama did drop the public option.

Now, of course, Romney says the Obama program is such a devastating assault on freedom that he, as president, will block its implementation by executive order while working to get it completely repealed.