The Romneycare Obamacare connection
Rick Perry’s latest attack ad relies on a lot of flashy graphics and ominous sound effects to tie Romney’s health overhaul in Massachusetts to the federal law that Congress passed a few years later.
But there’s actually a much simpler way to see the connection between Romneycare and Obamacare: It’s the people.
The folks who worked on the Massachusetts law didn’t exactly fade into the background once the health reform law passed and implementation got underway. Instead, many former Romney officials are now working for both the Obama administration and state governments to ensure that that the Affordable Care Act gets set up.
That includes Jon Kingsdale, who served as the first executive director of the Massachusetts Connector. Health and Human Services awarded Kingsdale a contract this year to help plan a federal health exchange, the fallback option for states that do not set up their own marketplaces by 2014. “We’ve been helping [HHS] think through operationally how it would work,” Kingsdale told me (subscription required) of his contract when we spoke about it in May.
Across the the country, the role of Massachusetts’s health reform veterans is even more pronounced; the consultants now helping states implement the Affordable Care Act are a veritable Massachusetts health reform alumni club. When Kingsdale and I talked about this a few months ago, he estimated that former Massachusetts officials are now working in about 20 to 25 states on implementing the federal law.
The list is long and most of the names aren’t exactly household ones outside of health policy. There’s Rosemarie Day, who served as the Massachusetts Connector’s chief operating officer for four years, who now runs an independent consulting firm, Day Health Strategies. She’s worked with Hawaii and Washington State on implementing health reform. There’s Melissa Boudreault, who directed Commonwealth Care, the insurance plan offered to low-income Massachusetts residents. She is now a vice president for mega-technology vendor CGI (which, incidentally, was awarded a $93.7 million contract to build the federal exchange, the one Kingsdale has been working on, late last week). Others have found work at top consulting firms, such as Deloitte, while some have gone to smaller health shops, like Bailit Health Purchasing and Health Management Associates.
And you can see the connections looking backward, too. NBC’s Michael Isikoff makes that point this morning by noting the Obama administration’s many meetings with senior Romney health advisers in 2009, during the health reform debate.