By WGBH News
Nov. 23, 2011
BOSTON — An MIT economist who helped craft President Barack Obama’s affordable care act told WGBH News that like it or not, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is the “hero of national health care reform.”
Since announcing his candidacy, Romney has tried to distinguish between the 2006 landmark health care law he helped oversee as Massachusetts governor and the national bill Obama presided over.
But professor Jonathan Gruber, speaking on the Emily Rooney Show on Nov. 22, didn’t buy it.
“He is trying to draw a distinction between what he did in Massachusetts and what Obama did with the affordable care act and there isn’t one,” he said. “They both work on the same fundamental principle of a mandate to enforce insurance market reform and subsidies to make insurance affordable. It’s sad that the political winds have forced him to walk back from his major accomplishment politically.”
Gruber, whose ideas helped lay the groundwork for the Massachusetts bill, considered the affordable care act to be the last hope for a free-market solution for covering the uninsured.
Romney has said that if he’s elected president, he will repeal the national bill. The Supreme Court agreed on Nov. 14 to hear arguments over the bill’s constitutionality. Hearings are expected to begin in March 2012.