ObamaCare's family tree: RomneyCare out of the Heritage Foundation, designed to counter HillaryCare
Now that the health insurance bill has become law, everybody and his brother is coming out of the woodwork to tell us that it is the Heritage Foundation plan developed to counter Hillarycare.
This is not new news. Hugh Hewitt spelled it out in his book about Romney, A Mormon in the White House (Regnery, 2007). In “The curious triumph of RomneyCare,” Brad DeLong says, “The conservative DNA of ObamaCare is hardly a secret,” and quotes David Frum, recently of the American Enterprise Institute: “The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to ClintonCare in 1993-1994."
So why are none of the talking heads on your TV screen and none of the op-ed writers in your newspaper talking about how this health plan is a big victory for Mitt Romney and Republican policy analysts? Because there has been a conspiracy of silence among those working for the bill and those working against it.
Republican silence is universally attributed to their political desire to be oppositional and deny the Democrats any victory. Bruce Bartlett says David Frum confided to him that AEI’s “scholars” were told “Ixnay on the ealthcarehay.”
Of the Democrats, DeLong says there were not enough willing to vote for anything more liberal than RomneyCare. (A good whipping might have helped.)
Thus the task for Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama was to hold the Democratic right to RomneyCare while not losing the Democratic left. As long as they could say to the left, "Look, this is what we can pass: It's a lot better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (and a poke in the eye with a sharp stick is a lot better than our current health-care financing system)," they had a chance of holding the left, especially if they could sweeten it with progressive tax and subsidy policies. But if they pointed out the intellectual origins of the plan—oh, and by the way, the guts of the plan came out of the conservative über-think tank, the Heritage Foundation, and it was what Mitt Romney thought was good policy back in 2004—then the left-wing Democrats' heads would have exploded and their votes would have vanished.
Jawbone asks of the “ ‘access’ progressives,” “What did the progressives know and when did they know it?”
I would ask the same of the members of the Progressive Caucus. And I wonder (here’s the conspiracy theorizing) if the silence of the Republicans was due not to politics so much as to using the Democrats to enact their policy without leaving fingerprints. Did the Republicans collude with the Democrats?