The Wall Street Journal privileged Mitt Romney's efforts to create a distinction between health care reform legislation he championed in Massachusetts and the Affordable Care Act he has campaigned against, even though a key architect of both reform bills has said that distinction is based on lies.
Previewing the October 16 presidential debate, The Wall Street Journal reported that Romney might tout his work passing health care reform as governor of Massachusetts:
On health care, Mr. Romney may talk about passing a health-care measure in Massachusetts and say his approach was different from the president's, said Kevin Madden, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. "A lot of voters are looking at this election through the lens of the economy, but also they're looking for someone who is competent and someone who will give them confidence," he said.
It has become an article of faith throughout the right-wing media that there are meaningful distinctions between the Massachusetts health care reform law and the Affordable Care Act, which Romney at various times has vowed to repeal outright or to salvage in parts.
But Jonathan Gruber, an economist who is considered the architect of the Massachusetts law, and who served as a key adviser to Democrats as they drafted the Affordable Care Act, says that the bills are essentially the same.
Gruber spoke with Capital New York in November 2011 and said that Romney was "just lying" in his efforts to create distance between his own health care reform and the legislation he now demonizes:
He credited Mitt Romney for not totally disavowing the Massachusetts bill during his presidential campaign, but said Romney's attempt to distinguish between Obama's bill and his own is disingenuous.
"The problem is there is no way to say that," Gruber said. "Because they're the same fucking bill. He just can't have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it's the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying. The only big difference is he didn't have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes."