Last week, Brown described the Democrats' reform proposals as "bitter" and "destructive." David Axelrod, appearing on ABC's This Week, criticized Brown's statement, noting the similarities between the Democratic proposals and the Massachusetts policy.
Senator Lindsay Graham, who appeared after Axelrod, however, disputed Axelrod's comments: "No way in the world is what they did in Massachusetts like what we’re about to do in Washington." Graham explains that: "We didn’t cut Medicare — they didn’t cut Medicare when they passed the bill in Massachusetts. They didn’t raise $500 billion on the American people when they passed the bill in Massachusetts."
Graham's effort to distinguish the Massachusetts policy from the Democratic proposals is foolhardy. First, states cannot raise federal taxes, nor can they reform the Medicare program. So, Graham's explanation regarding the differences between Massachusetts policy and the federal proposals is ridiculous.
Furthermore, the Massachusetts plan and federal proposals are also quite similar in terms of substance. The Wonk Room has compiled a side-by-side comparison of the two packages, showing the dramatic similarities. Also, Think Progress nicely summarizes the similarities:
[T]he plan implemented by former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts is very similar to the Democratic proposal. Both plans require people to purchase coverage and both provide affordability credits to those who can’t afford insurance. Both create insurance exchanges, both establish minimum creditable coverage standards for insurers, and both require employers to contribute towards reform.Romney implemented the Massachusetts plan as governor of the state, and Brown voted for it as a member of the state legislature. Romney apparently wants to run for president again, and he believes he must portray the Massachusetts reforms in a false light in order to appeal to Republicans. Brown is trying to score points with the GOP as well, and he is distorting history to achieve this goal as well. Their weak effort to distance their prior stances from highly similar Democratic proposals, however, is not fooling anyone. The record is too clear to deny.