Mitt Romney’s ongoing health-care travail

ABC News reported:

All-but-declared GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shot back at President Barack Obama [Saturday] for his increasingly frequent words of praise for the health-care reform law Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts.

“He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration for his plan,” Romney said at a speech in Las Vegas. “If that’s the case, why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you ask what was wrong? Why didn’t you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn’t?”

Actually, the president did one better. He consulted with the expert who designed Romney’s Massachusetts plan, MIT professor Jon Gruber.

What is bizarre, however, is Romney’s reference to costs. His plan did nothing to contain costs, a goal that Gruber said was not part of the plan. So is Romney confessing that his own plan would “bankrupt” his state?

I asked a Romney spokesperson:

1. The president did consult with the chief adviser to then-Gov. Romney. What could Romney have told the president that Jon Gruber did not?

2. What were the things that “didn’t work”? That “did work”?

3. Which category is the individual mandate in?

Andrea Saul of Romney’s political action committee attempted to answer on the first: “While Jonathan Gruber was consulted on health-care reform, a great many people were. He was not on the Governor’s staff, nor was he at the decision-making table in the Governor’s office, so to call him Romney’s ‘chief adviser’ is a stretch.” Well, she didn’t answer the central issue: What could Romney have told the president that Jon Gruber did not?

I requested that she answer the last two questions and received no reply. Romney is plainly trying to lay low for now, but if he has an answer to these questions, doesn’t he need to get it out as soon as he can? And, by the way, if he puts the individual mandate in the “didn’t work” category, that would be an admission that the central feature of the plan, one he personally championed, was a bust. If he puts the individual mandate in the “did work” category, he’s going to have a mighty tough time in the Republican presidential primary. So you see why his staff is avoiding answering questions.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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