Five years ago today, then Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts signed a landmark healthcare law for the state. In 2006, this was considered a victory for the Republican governor, and Real Clear Politics’s Reihan Salam wrote that it pushed Romney’s 2008 presidential chances from “decent” to “excellent.” But now that Romney is launching his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination, people have noticed similarities between “Romneycare” and the 2010 “Obamacare.” The Massachusetts plan includes the individual mandate requiring nearly everyone to have health insurance, an aspect of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul that has proved politically explosive. This does not sit well with the conservative GOP base, and some of Romney’s likely competitors in the 2012 nomination race have already made it an issue. The White House has described the Massachusetts plan as the inspiration and model for the national plan, and Democrats have scheduled events this week to thank Romney for his leadership on healthcare, presumably hoping to discredit him with conservatives who call for repealing the national law. Romney took his first stab at defending himself during a Las Vegas speech in early April, saying he would repeal the national healthcare overhaul since it usurps states’ rights. “[Obama] does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan. 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?” he said. “I would have told him, and I know, ‘What you’re doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.’” But will that be enough for Republicans? [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP candidates.]
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Previously: Who won the 2011 budget compromise?