At some point in this year’s presidential campaign, perhaps on a debate stage, President Obama is likely to repeat his claim that the Massachusetts health-care law signed by Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006 was the inspiration for the federal health-care plan that he himself signed in 2010. Obama knows that his signature legislative accomplishment remains unpopular. But he also knows that policy experts of various political stripes have claimed that Obamacare is essentially Romneycare taken national. If Romney is the Republican presidential nominee, as he seems likely to be, Obama will try to block him from taking advantage of his vulnerability.
Romney will be able to answer Obama effectively only if he has already vigorously made the case against Obamacare by then: both so that he has the argument clear in his mind, and so that Republican politicians, reporters, and voters are at least passingly familiar with it.