Mitt Romney may deny any connection to President Obama's health care law, but among the aides he used to craft his own reforms in Massachusetts it's a different story. Three of his top health care experts met with the White House a dozen times to discuss the Affordable Care Act, according to records obtained by NBC News.
One of Mitt Romney's go-to lines when asked about the similarities between his Massachusetts health care law and Obama's is to demand why he wasn't consulted on the latter.
"He does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan," Romney said in April. "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. ... I would have told him, 'What you're doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us.'"
But the extensive involvement of the very same people behind his own law undercuts that argument and highlights the similarities between the two plans, which both feature a mandate requiring people to purchase health care and subsidies to help them afford coverage.
"The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we'd done in Massachusetts," MIT economic professor Jon Gruber, a Romney aide who met with the president in 2009 to discuss health care, told. "They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model."
Gruber was the most closely involved in the White House effort, securing a $380,000 contract to work with Congress on designing the Affordable Care Act. Another Romney aide who met repeatedly with the White House was Jon Kingsdale, who in Massachusetts was appointed to serve as executive director of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, which implemented Romney's law. John McDonough was not a part of the Romney administration, but worked closely with Romney as an advocate for expanded health care in designing and promoting the governor's plan.